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Blaqk Audio - CexCells (Cover Artwork)

Blaqk Audio

Blaqk Audio: CexCellsCexCells (2007)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

At first glance, Blaqk Audio seems like a unique and intriguing idea: A goth frontman from a notably successful, major label punk band pairs up with a cohort to form an electronic side project duo. Ohhh, but that's right: It's been done before. But even if we take away the facts that Davey Havok .
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At first glance, Blaqk Audio seems like a unique and intriguing idea: A goth frontman from a notably successful, major label punk band pairs up with a cohort to form an electronic side project duo. Ohhh, but that's right: It's been done before.

But even if we take away the facts that Davey Havok and Jade Puget from AFI were about a year behind Matt Skiba and Josiah Steinbrick and that the types of electronic music vary significantly, it's hard to be entirely impressed with Blaqk Audio's debut. For even though there was clearly considerable attention to detail paid in the computer-generated sounds and rhythms, the final product is a mostly passive experience, with lyrics that are largely non-engaging.

The album's first single, "Stiff Kittens" comes out bumping, layered with synthesized instrumentation and the familiar bass & cymbal beat that puts Party Boy in Party Mode. The vibe doesn't last though, as "Between Breaths" unravels a vaguely industrial Nine Inch Nails disposition, while Havok shouts out his chorus: "You knew I knew the ways that I could make you say: / 'Please, please please don't take it... / Take it, take it, take it easy on me. / Just make it. / Make it, make it, make it harder to breathe.' / So I'll climb on top and I'll never stop / 'Till I make you forget who you are / And just feel." Despite that I coincidentally just watched snuff-fest Tesis last night, the gothic poeticism of "Snuff on Digital" doesn't inspire much emotion, though the XTC-driven synthesizers and heavy bass kick could potentially inspire pelvic thrusts and the Sparklemotion chorus may inspire a little nostalgia.

Though there are some unquestionably enjoyable tracks on CexCells, there is also far too much droning, insipid filler. Songs like "The Fear of Being Found," "Where Would You Like Them Left" and "Wake Up, Open the Door and Escape to the Sea" are not only no fun to listen to, but also take up a good portion of the album, razing the inertia and flow of some otherwise agreeable cuts. The closest Blaqk Audio ever gets to the modern rock sound of AFI is on the perplexing emo rock ballad "The Love Letter," which is unfortunately far more emo than it rocks.

Conversely, the best tracks on CexCells are "Semiotic Love," with an upbeat tempo and catchy vocals, and "On a Friday," with its varying tempos and some of the album's sharpest lyrics: "So let's cut clean to the sex scene / Drop the white lines 'cuz no one is clean / And this beat won't wait for you / Safe to say that you won't recall so / Let's just pretend nothing happened at all."

If nothing else, CexCells is a grower. Once past the electronica novelty and the idea that Davey Havok isn't singing in a hardcore band this time, there are a small handful of enjoyable songs here. However, the half-share of duds and sub-par lyrics makes CexCells a questionable -- if not disappointing -- debut for Blaqk Audio.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
AFI - The Art Of DrowningDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeAFI - Black Sails In The SunsetAFI - Sing The SorrowOperation Ivy - Operation IvyRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesPaint It Black - ParadiseGreen Day - American IdiotFall Out Boy - Take This to Your GraveAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
yeh (October 3, 2008)

i really liked this album and think it is agreat opportunity for davey to express himself in another genre . the lyrics i think are deep . and they inspire adreline rush

shadow22 (October 18, 2007)

This is a really good record. I was very sceptical about this, but After a few listens and a few bowls, I was amazed. I know alot of the new school punk purists will hate this. Give it a chance, This release is better then 90% of the albums that I have heard this year

jakethelifeguard (October 16, 2007)

davey havok, go back to the gilman days

karmabad (October 15, 2007)

I heard bits and pieces of this album, and it just sounds like a DP rip plain and simple. If you're a fan, cool, but don't really expect anything too original. We've all heard worse. I dig when bands have new projects that are completely different from where they're from, but this I think missed the mark.

http://thisblogisover.wordpress.com/

abrrock (October 15, 2007)

the "sanctuary" song that's all over the radio is so awful. afi with 80's beats and lame-ass synth...awesome. fuck, i hate the 80's.

SST108 (October 15, 2007)

Listen to the album first before you make stupid comments. On the first track you cannot say that Havok's vocals on it do not remind you of Ian Curtis.

totonotdead (October 15, 2007)

score is for that stupid idiot comparing this shit with Joy Division, c'mon, you can't even name joy division in this stupid fucking review. fuck you all

joeg (October 14, 2007)

"But frankly, I rather see AFI break up and let Davey and Jade continue this goth-electronica-whatever thing they've got going than continue to ruin AFI's sound with all this ambiance synth shit"

i know. it's almost as if davey and jade are members of AFI or something.

Conduit (October 14, 2007)

Score is for the fact that Davey hasn't been singing for a hardcore, or for that matter a punk band for quite some time.

I'm sure this is complete garbage, but luckily, i'm going to go ahead and not listen to this as it doesn't interest me in the slightest. And since I used to be a huge AFI fan, thats kind of sad.

SST108 (October 14, 2007)

Seeing as these guys are my age, this album returns me to the time of band slike Joy Division/New Order, Skinny Puppy. Nitzerebb etc.. If you do not know or like these bands you will not like this album. That is the sound they were going for and I think they did an admirable job and am glad someone is doing stuff that the older crowd can appreciate and enjoy. Good album that brings me back to a a different time.

iconoclast (October 14, 2007)

more shit for the landfills.

cherrycolarain (October 13, 2007)

I hate Decemberunderground. But somehow, some way, this record is even worse. Just slightly, but it is worse. But frankly, I rather see AFI break up and let Davey and Jade continue this goth-electronica-whatever thing they've got going than continue to ruin AFI's sound with all this ambiance synth shit.

and P.S.:
GlassPipeMurder is by far one of the best reviewers we've ever had on this site.

GlassPipeMurder (October 13, 2007)

This guy is far and away the worst reviewer on this site

Submit a review so we can be graced with your superior writing skills.

HonestAbe (October 13, 2007)

This guy is far and away the worst reviewer on this site

JayTee (October 13, 2007)

I don't know how many of you have goth friends, but I have a few that hang at Club NEO on the northside in Chicago. They listen to stuff like VNV Nation and Imperative Reaction and stuff like that. This is what Davey and Jade are going for. Problem is, they were raised in punk and hardcore and just plain don't have the heart or skill to compare with other bands of this genre. The same way those kinds of bands wouldn't fully "get it" if trying to cover Filth or Misfits.

It comes off as bland imitation and I don't think half their audience even understands what they're trying to do.

wyzo (October 12, 2007)

i know it was a one time thing, but i kind of liked that EP by Error.

....anyway, this band isn't for me.

w

GlassPipeMurder (October 12, 2007)

And why bother starting the review by comparing it to Heavens? They don't have anything to do with each other.

come now...frontmen from major label goth-punk bands both form electronic/synth duos where they sing & write lyrics and their partner takes care of the music...and release their debut within a year of each other?

please don't try to ruin my lovely comparison with minutia!

aorta (October 12, 2007)

I'd say this record is better than the last AFI record. Songs like "Semiotic Love", "Stiff Kittens" and "Snuff on Digital" sound like Davey and Jade care about making music they like again. There are some bad songs here, "Wake up," and "Love Letter" especially. It's not particularly original, but for a record like this, I don't really need a lot of originality-- just some fun tunes. The record gets bad when it gets too full of itself, like on the aforementioned songs.

And why bother starting the review by comparing it to Heavens? They don't have anything to do with each other. It's sort of like criticizing Tim Kasher and the Good Life because Matt Pryor already did the New Amsterdams. Yes, bands do side projects-- lots of bands actually.

icapped2pac (October 12, 2007)

The cover looks like when, as a kid, I would go to over to a friend's house and their parents would have had MTV scrambled and George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" video would be on.

HonestAbe (October 12, 2007)

So when is this homo gonna come out?

Cloudkicker (October 12, 2007)

Let's be honest, I wasn't blown away by the cd, but live it transcends really well. Lots of energy. "On a Friday" even has a mosh part and that shit was amazing live.

Jesus_H_Christ (October 12, 2007)

"the familiar bass & cymbal beat that puts Party Boy in Party Mode"

Score is for that line alone.

-tom

diver (October 12, 2007)

I'll come right out and say I'm an Afi "fangirl," but I hate synths, I just do.
Somehow I enjoyed some of this album. But it's not anything to be terribly excited about.

fattony (October 12, 2007)

This review nails it. Though, in my opinion everything outside of "Stiff Kittens," "Semiotic Love," and "On A Friday" is unlistenable and completely disposable, hence my harsher rating. Even those 3 songs are only good from a "poor man's Depeche Mode" standpoint.

death_from_above_1984 (October 12, 2007)

Not that I am a huge fan or anything but Blaqk Audio was in the making for well over a year, I remember hearing about it like 3 or four years ago.
With that said and me being fan of electronic music, I thought this would be darker and less poppy.
I was thinking something along the lines of havoc doing vocals for VNV but, alas, I was disappointed.

Archangel (October 12, 2007)

The guy from AFI is directly associated with this, so I have no choice but to roll my eyes and say "No thanks."

fallingupwards84 (October 12, 2007)

i'm a huge AFI fan but i havent been motivated to even download this

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