The story of Blaqk Audio began over twenty years ago, however, the two songwriters (Davey Havok and Jade Puget) simply could not fit it in with their main band, AFI, soaring high. Fortunately, around 2006 the duo scratched out some time for Blaqk Audio, released their debut album CexCells in 2007 to critical acclaim. Leaving fans curious if it was a one and done, the creative wheels of Blaqk Audio have thankfully been turning ever since. Granted it took five years before they returned in 2012 with Bright Black Heaven, spans between music became shorter each album cycle; with Material coming in 2016, Only Things We Love in 2019, Beneath the Black Palms in 2020, and now Trop D’amour in 2022.
Released on September 16th through Blaqknoise, Trop D’Amour marks Blaqk Audio’s sixth full-length album. Their second released only on vinyl and digital, but not CD, it comes with ten songs, and like prior works, mixes a dark synth sound that few can resist. As mentioned, a project equalized by Davey Havok and Jade Puget, musicians who are usually creating more Punk Rock styled music with AFI, in many ways you could say that Blaqk Audio is their perfect alt-personality. Consistently catchy electronic music through the years… Trop D’Amour is really no different.
It all begins with the strong steady rhythm of “Blue Cherry” which will pull you right onto the dance floor. Then “Softbitten” keeps you right there with oddly repetitive beats wrapped around a magical central melody. Hypnotic, it is combined with magnificently soft vocals from Havok on the verses which create a sense of sadness. This is while “Absolute Scenes” and “Sharp Teeth” offer more catchy vibes before the more melancholic “The One Who Turns to Light” blankets you.
From here the album continues at a steady pace with songs like “Cowboy Nights” awakening a sort of craving that lays deep within. But there is also the mellow, almost shy “EDZ” before the more rapid speed “Stormbringer,” joyful sensations of the Atari 8-bit styled “Behead the Bee,” and gentle synth landing of “Dreamyhead.”
In the end Blaqk Audio reward their dedicated followers with a great darkly layered album with lots of heart. Featuring addictive melodies, choruses that will get stuck in your head, as well as telling heartbreaking tales, there are also moments of joy and hope throughout. In truth, the music has the ease and naivety of a teenager, yet it sounds very experienced. Depending on your mood, each song will create a different emotion, and that is why Cryptic Rock thinks Trop D’Amour has it all, thus giving it 5 out of 5 stars.