Bright Black Heaven (Big Death/Superball Music)
By Mike Delano
Blaqk Audio is the electro side project of AFI frontman Davey Havok and guitarist/keyboardist Jade Puget. The duo don’t treat this as too radical a departure from their day jobs, since they bring over the tight song structures and pop sensibilities from latter-day AFI and give it a danceable synthpop sheen.
The sound on Bright Black Heaven rarely even gets as dark as classic Depeche Mode, so no worries that the two might be exorcising any demons here or challenging listeners with experimental stuff or airy atmospherics. Problem is, not a lot of the songs here really stick. First single, “Faith Healer,” is a decent enough herky-jerky dance number, but a lot of stuff like “Bliss” and “Bon Voyeurs” sound a little half-baked. The intimate mood created by the intro of “Deconstructing Gods” sets the stage for something along the lines of the emotional immediacy of Björk, but the duo prefers big hooks and big choruses that turn it into more of a mini-anthem. Sometimes, though, the hooks are too tasty to deny, like the standout “With Your Arms Around You.”
With its ten-ton hammer pop agenda, Blaqk Audio clearly intends this album to be more for the dance floor than the stereo, so dropping the headphones and heading to the club seems to be the way to get the most out of Bright Black Heaven.