March 12, 2019 Blaqk Audio – Only Things We Love (Album Review)
Jade Puget and Davey Havok are two busy people. Balancing multiple bands, projects, and tours seems to come effortlessly to this duo, however. Best known as one half of seminal Punk band AFI, Puget and Havok also make up Electropop band Blaqk Audio.
After the release of a brand new AFI EP only months ago, the duo are set to release Blaqk Audio’s fourth LP, entitled Only Things We Love, on Friday, March 15th through Kobalt Records. Following the release of 2016’s stellar Material, which achieved the number one spot on the US Dance/Electronic chart, Only Things We Love turns its eyes toward more Industrial influences and darker elements.
Blaqk Audio formed nearly two decades ago, releasing their first LP, CexCells, in 2007 and proved that this band was much more than an AFI side project. The band has been constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries of their sound over the course of these past twelve years, proving over and over that Puget and Havok are an unstoppable songwriting team. This time, Blaqk Audio is combining dark ’80s Industrial influences and injecting that with a distinctly modern Futurepop feel. Where Material had moments of soaring celebration, Only Things We Love is more subdued but no less emotional. With Havok’s honest, evocative lyrics and strictly melodic vocals backed by Puget’s uncanny programming, Blaqk Audio still defies definition. Blaqk Audio is something unique and entirely its own.
“Infinite Skin” draw listeners into Only Things We Love with a distinctly 80s melody and dance beat. Essenced with a bit of Duran Duran, the uptempo groove of “Infinite Skin” belies its darker lyrics. In stark contrast to those brighter beats is the pulsating “The Viles,” the album’s lead single. For this track, Puget actually added in guitar samples for the first time. Previously, Blaqk Audio had featured solely inorganic instruments, but the sampled guitar gives “The Viles” an Industrial, atmospheric feel.
That same mood flows beautifully into “Unstained,” another alluring single, this time backed with keyboards and a bright, catchy chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head despite its subtlety. Puget’s lush production feels near perfection on tracks like standout “Caroline in the Clip.” Not that there is necessarily any need for comparison, but this track sounds as though it could have once belonged to AFI. Beautifully dark, “Caroline in the Clip” is the album’s slowest and sexiest offering, flowing nicely into the brightness of “Maker” and “Summer’s Out of Sight” before taking another dive into the evocative darkness of “OK Alex” and “Dark Times at the Berlin Wall.”
Each track that makes up Only Things We Love features its own distinct character, and yet thanks to Havok and Puget’s indomitable songwriting, the album overall fells pretty cohesive. A combination of influences ranging from Depeche Mode to Bauhaus, to The Prodigy and beyond means that any connoisseur of Electronic/Dance will easily find something to suit their taste on this album. Each track stands easily on its own, and any less-than-stellar moments are few and far between. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Only Things We Love 4.5 out of 5 stars.