Blaqk Audio – ‘Only Things We Love’

By Tom Walsh

When AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget last donned the mask of their synthpop alter-ego Blaqk Audio, it continued a trend that had manifested in recent AFI work.

The 2016 LP ‘Material’ built on the dark motifs which flowed through the incredibly bleak AFI record ‘Burials’, released three years earlier. Blaqk Audio tends to be the mirror to AFI and ever since Havok and Puget’s first foray into electronic and new wave with 2007’s ‘CexCells’, it has seemingly acted as the release for pent up ideas.

‘Only Things We Love’ is a departure from the morbid lyrics and can stand alone as an incredibly strong electronic record. There is a surprisingly upbeat tone meaning that the record delivers tracks that have the potential to be huge dance anthems, filling the floors of the world’s most iconic venues.

Lead single ‘The Viles’ is just a mere taster of what is to come. The heavy chorus combines a classic 1980s industrial sound with high pitched synths and Havok’s rumbling vocals. The front man tones down his range for Blaqk Audio, there are no trademark yelps and what stands in its place is a booming alto to suit the mood.

Away from the anthemic tracks, there are more mellow moments on the almost lounge-like ‘Maker’ and the sauntering ‘Caroline In the Clip’. Havok and Puget even blend the sound of their two bands with ‘Summer’s Out of Sight’, carrying the pace and aura of a song that could have easily made a recent AFI record.

‘Only Things We Love’ dips in and out of the dancier elements before reaching a real crescendo towards the end. ‘Ok Alex’ feels the soundtrack to every cyber goth nightclub with Havok’s repetitive yet controlled lyrics playing over a synth section that keeps everything at a breakneck pace. The highlight of the record is undoubtedly ‘Dark Times At The Berlin Wall’ which is a clubland anthem in the waiting.

Kicking off with a thumping drum and bass section, Havok’s ominous vocals evolves into a euphoric chorus. Puget gradually introduces the synths before building to a huge and unforgettable breakdown that are the hallmarks for every dance track. It is a statement track that could announce Blaqk Audio’s breakthrough into a genre dominated by their idols of Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and Ministry.

Puget recently explained that he had taken a different approach on ‘Only Things We Love’, and actually uses guitars on Blaqk Audio tracks. That blend of the punk sensibilities of AFI and the innovative thinking of Blaqk Audio has seen the two crossover quite well for recent material and ‘Only Things We Love’ represents the next stage in this pleasing progression.

It is an album that will be appreciated by the punks and new romantics and even the burgeoning dance scene.

TOM WALSH  

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Download Festival 2019 - Sunday

LIVE: Drug Church / Night Letters @ Boston Music Room, London

LIVE: Download Festival 2019 - Saturday