If sex sells, then so should the synthesization and poetry that accompany its overall aura. And if Cex Cells felt oh-so right five years back, then Blaqk Audio’s 2012 release will dig even deeper. Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI released their sophomore full-length, Bright Black Heaven, in September, and they’ve taken a turn to a darker shade of grey.
With the album juxtaposing, what Havok describes in a recent PureVolume Q&A as, “up tempo, very fun and energetic…but [ ] also darker, shadowy moments,” Bright Black Heaven is an ironic club record. In 2007, Cex Cells was ahead of its time with its dub step and drum and bass tendencies. Now, the analog-gone-electronic duo is making their subtle gothic-intentions a bit more apparent with left-of-center chord progressions and lead lines, with consistent, Danzig-meets-Depeche Mode vocal consistency
“Cold War” opens the record with a bright and fiery hookiness - a honing of songwriting chops that the duo showcases heavily throughout Black Bright Heaven. Though slightly over-the-top in its SEGA, drum and bass videogame instrumental track, “Fade To White” brings Puget and Havok’s musical and melodic choices together in a way that the song’s high BPM is not overbearing.
To know that each band member write separately from one another is almost too much to swallow. Puget opens up a new Ableton session and has to anticipate or at least trust what Havok can and will take away from his track. Something that will layer it and deepen it further. The product is one whose music, melodies, harmonies, and lyrics coincide in a way that, one would assume, could only be written side by side.
Yet regardless of its conception, the record astonishes in its variety of tone. The middle portion of the album maintains those 80’s British invasion vocal tendencies, while the synthetic essence of each track varies in its effect. “Deconstructing Gods” is contemplative in structure and mesmerizing in its repetition. “Everybody’s Friends” is quintessentially clubby but, surprisingly, low-lying in melody. “Let’s Be Honest,” one of Blaqk Audio’s finest tracks, is Information Society-esque in its marchiness, and followed by ballads that change keys. By the end of it all, the listener finds himself in “Bliss” with where darkened reverberating glockenspiels meet 4-2 rhythms.
The charts were topped this week by strong debuts from Dave Matthews Band, Little Big Town, Bob Dylan, and The Avett Brothers. Blaqk Audio touched in the Billboard charts in the 38th spots with over 8,000 copies of Bright Black Heaven sold. fun. also dropped from the ninth to 17th spot with 17,000 copies of Some Nights sold. Check out the top 25 Billboard spots this week below by clicking “Read More.”