Review - Blaqk Audio - Bright Black Heaven
Blaqk Audio, the electronic side project of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget, recently released (September 11th) their second album. The CD is their first in five years, and the title, ‘Bright Black Heaven’ says it all. While AFI may make some darker-themed songs, Blaqk Audio really puts the goth on the dancefloor.
For those who don’t know BA, think of Hurts, only more electronic. Think of Mirrors, only more electronic. Think of The Cure…only electronic at all. If we’re looking on the electronic side, think kind of Shiny Toy Guns or Kill Hannah (oh my god do you remember Kill Hannah?!?), only darker.
‘CexCells’, their first album, managed to peak at number 18 on the Billboard 200, and the lead single “Stiff Kittens” charted on both the alternative and dance charts, as it appealed to both crowds. Sadly, ‘Bright Black Heaven’ missed the charts entirely, as did the first single “Faith Healer”. No matter. Something tells me that Davey and Jade aren’t too worried about such things with BA. It’s a fun alter ego for them to explore different ideas and sounds.
‘Bright Black Heaven’ sees the two sticking with similar lyrical content – darkness and sex. If it works for them, go for it. Davey’s vocals delve even deeper into the black and have a theatricality not heard since AFI’s album ‘Sing The Sorrow’. No, we aren’t hearing the insane highs of “Girl’s Not Grey”, but he shows that he isn’t afraid to be all over the place, telling stories and conveying feelings not only with his words but his voice.
The music has changed a bit from last time, as there is a much heavier influence of drum and bass. Also, you can hear a lot of the 80’s new wave dance scene on the album, but more in the form of subtle influences and undertones than completely outright. While hard-rocking synths and swirling morose dance rhythms still have control, it is nice to see progression with a second album. Not to say the first wasn’t well-done, but artists should try new things and move in new directions every time they release something.
Blaqk Audio isn’t for everyone – it certainly is an acquired taste. Don’t expect to hear any of these tracks on the radio or in clubs, but also don’t discount it. I didn’t terribly care for the album (as this just isn’t really my scene), but if you’re in that right mood or if this sort of sound is your thing, than you’ll really dig ‘Bright Black Heaven’.
Listen to: “Fade to White” (for the drum and bass sound), “Faith Healer”, and “With Your Arms Around You”