Dec 2012 28

Blaqk Audio - Bright Black HeavenBlaqk Audio
Category: Synthpop
Album: Bright Black Heaven
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Despite it being five years in the making, Blaqk Audio’s sophomore album fails to recapture the most interesting and unexpected aspects of the debut.


Blaqk Audio is the longstanding side project of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget, and since the release of their debut, CexCells in 2007, fans have been awaiting a follow-up anxiously. Bright Black Heaven seems a bit too bland and lacking in inspiration in to be more than somewhat better than average pop-ish dance music. The 12 tracks on the new record still have the trademark Havok vocal sound and the solid synth lines you’d expect, but come across as a little too polished and make it seem as though some of their previous passion has evaporated.

Even the ballads on CexCells had a driving force behind them and the disparate elements of each track came together to form a cohesive whole – somehow – in the end. Bright Black Heaven, on the other hand, seems full of songs that only fall into one of two categories: songs that really want to be new dance floor anthems and showcase Havok’s unique and poetic lyrics, and songs that seem to be aiming for a more acceptable mainstream pop album. Those songs are slightly too good to get lost in the shuffle, but never truly stand out individually. “The Witness” is one of the more danceable tracks, followed closely by “Fade to White.” “Faith Healer” was the first single to officially be released for Bright Black Heaven, but is only a shadow of some of the less memorable tracks on CexCells. “Say Red” works because it showcases the excellent lyrical storytelling Blaqk Audio is capable of while still being dance floor friendly.

All in all, Bright Black Heaven is a solid release that would have been rather more impressive coming from another group. Whether you’re an AFI fan or a fan of the first Blaqk Audio album, it’s been proven time and again that this duo is capable of better.
Track list:

  1. Cold War
  2. Fade to White
  3. Faith Healer
  4. Deconstructing Gods
  5. Everybody’s Friends
  6. Let’s be Honest
  7. With Your Arms Around You
  8. Bliss
  9. Bon Voyeurs
  10. The Witness
  11. Say Red
  12. Ill-Lit Ships

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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Lola Babalon

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