Blaqk Audio is the brainchild of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget. Artists that have side bands are tricky because usually it ends up sounding like their other work, making it hard for people to separate the two. But Blaqk Audio have successfully separated this band from AFI. Aside from the vocals, the two bands sound nothing alike. Their debut album is full of electronic and synth inspired music. While some of it may sound generic or corny, the album has a surprising amount of good tracks.
Though all of the songs have electronic music in them, they each have their own mood and sound. The opening track “Stiff Kittens” is reminiscent of a Cruxshadows song with the dark sounding vocals and the booming electronica. It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s enough to get you past the first track. The following song “Beneath Breaths” has a creepy vibe and sounds like a Marilyn Manson song, something from Mechanical Animals. It has an isolated feeling, which makes the creepiness more pronounced. Unfortunately, some of the songs like “Again, Again, and Again” sound like tracks from a DDR machine, but aside from this most of the songs are pretty impressive.
There are some really great songs here that’ll get you more interested in the band. “The Love Letter” is one of my favorites. It starts with a somber piano before the rest of the music comes crashing in with Havok’s vocals. The way he sings “What could you see? What could you find? If we meet please avert your eyes/What I’ll never show, what you’ll never find/Is explosive so hide your eyes” sounds so angry and bitter. I love how you can feel all that emotion just from the opening chorus. This track has an isolated tone with the stark piano. It really hits you in the chest when it’s starts. It’s probably the best song on the album.
Another great song is “Fear of Being Found.” It has light, dreamy music almost like the kind you would hear in a lullaby. I think the thing that makes this song stand out is that it sounds like a xylophone is being used. It’s so easy to get lost in the sounds here. The more you listen to it, you realize how pretty and sweet it sounds, though it probably has dark underlings going on. “Where Would You Like them Left” is another stand out track mostly because it’s piano focused. It does have electronic elements strewn in, but the piano takes over most of the song. It’s a pretty catchy track with an uptempo riff that grows haunting during the bridge. It’s a song that will stay with you long after the album is over.
While most of the music here is good, there are moments where it sounds generic or unfitting. You can hear this most on the track “Semiotic Love.” The fast beat of the music makes it sound like some super happy Japanese song that should be sung by creepy Anime girls. And in other places it sounds like typical electronic music that have been heard in other songs. The more you listen to it, you realize it’s kind of cheesy music wise. A few other songs like “On A Friday” have the same issue, with sounding like they should be played in some lame ass European club, but it’s not a huge issue for the album.
What makes Blaqk Audio’s music so intriguing is the fact that they never just have electronic or techno in one song. There’s no doubt that this is the type of music that inspired the album and it is found everywhere, but there are other elements that they throw in to make the music more interesting. This way they don’t limit their audience. I really love how they’ll use other instruments to keep their songs from getting boring. It’s also a way to separate themselves from other electronic acts. It also doesn’t hurt that the electronic music they use is pretty damn good. Some of it will even want to make you dance.
Overall, the album gets 7/10. While there are some questionable songs here that may not represent the best electronic music, there are some great ones that will make you fall in love with the band. When the music is good, it’s really good. It has enough variety in it where it never gets boring or repetitive, which is often the problem with this type of music. They are finally releasing their long awaited sophomore album in September and their first single from it “Faith Healer” already sounds promising, so let’s hope they keep providing us with great music.