Blaqk Audio is the electro side-project of AFI band members, Davey Havok and Jade Puget, who have now followed up their first release ‘CexCells’ with their latest offering, ‘Bright Black Heaven’ (why they can suddenly now spell the word ‘black’ is unclear to me). Providing the music scene with something different is always a risky move as it tends to have very polarising results, and that seems to be the case with Blaqk Audio. Perhaps there will be those out there who can’t get enough of this album, however, to me it seems oddly put together and to have been released three decades too late.
Opening track ‘Cold War’ sets the tone for album quite successfully, Havok‘s vocals are noticeably different from his AFI performances and are comparable to Spandau Ballet‘s Tony Hadley. Whilst that caught me quite off guard, what was more disappointing was the lack of variety in the vocal performance, this results in several tracks sounding similar but with a different repetitive electronic beat in the background. This is especially the case on the slower paced tracks, such as ‘Deconstructing Gods’ and ‘Bliss’.
There are some highlights of the album; closer ‘Ill-Lit Ships’ sees the duo take a more simplistic approach and add some much needed diversity to the album. ‘Fade To White’ is a very successful upbeat number with an infectious chorus. Also, some of the introductions to the tracks really stick in your mind (despite the introduction to ‘The Witness’ sounding like a march into battle led by Gok Wan). However, the overwhelming feeling is that once you’ve heard one track, you’ve pretty much heard them all. There’s very little variation across the album as a whole.
Blaqk Audio know what kind of music they want to create and if you happen to catch a track off this album and like it, you’ll love the entire record. I just cannot shake the feeling that the music sounds outdated and a little cluttered at times when they try and change the repeated electronic beat under the same vocal performance track after track. Who knows, maybe people nostalgic for the 80s will snap this album up, but I won’t hold my breath.
Written by Jonathon Barlow
Tags: Blaqk Audio
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