Boeckner: Boeckner! [Album Review]

Sub Pop Records [2024]

Album Overview: Boeckner! is the debut solo album by Dan Boeckner, the Canadian indie rocker known for his work with bands like Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits and Operators. It finds Boeckner exploring a more personal and raw musical territory, blending all of his experiences with fresh elements of synth, indie guitar, and passionate vocals. It serves as a platform for Boeckner to develop his own musical language and present a deeply personal narrative without the expectations of a band moniker behind him. With this album, Boeckner not only showcases his continued progression as a musician but also demonstrates his unwavering commitment to crafting poignant, genre-defying music. The album’s percussive talent comes courtesy of Matt Chamberlain (known for his work with Bowie, Fiona Apple, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden), providing the perfect counter to Boeckner’s potent guitar throughout the record.

Musical Style: The musical style of Boeckner! is a rich tapestry woven from a diverse array of influences, seamlessly blending post-apocalyptic synth with guitar-driven heroism. Boeckner skillfully navigates between genres, incorporating elements of indie rock, synth-pop, and krautrock to create a sound that is both hauntingly atmospheric and energetically captivating. His masterful fusion of these disparate elements results in a sonic experience that is both familiar and innovative, captivating listeners with its unique blend of musical textures and emotional resonance.

Evolution of Sound: Boeckner! finds Dan delving deeper into darker, more personal themes while experimenting with new sonic textures. The album’s impact is enhanced by touches of music that Boeckner typically listens to but has never incorporated into his recordings, such as pseudo-metal and heavy psych influences.

Artists with Similar Fire: Clearly, listeners familiar with Boeckner’s work with Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, or Operators will find a quicker connection with Boeckner!. The album also shares some sonic similarities with artists like Xiu Xiu, The Cars, Medicine, and The Killers.

Pivotal Tracks: “Lose” is the opening track that sets the tone with its thumping synths and guitar-driven urgency. Its fast tempo matches Boeckner’s spastic live energy. “Ghost In The Mirror” is one of the catchiest tracks on the record, with its hook and foot-tapping grooves. “Euphoria” is a highlight that rides on off-kilter darkness and features glitching electronics and haunting imagery as the music builds and surrounds you. “Dead Tourists” possesses waves of darker musical elements that keep crashing against Boeckner’s vocals, creating a likable intensity.

Lyrical Strength: Boeckner’s lyrics are raw and introspective, often incorporating science fiction imagery to convey deeply personal experiences and emotions. Themes of desperation, hope, and existentialism are woven throughout, adding depth to the album for repeat listens.

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Christopher Anthony
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