As someone who can’t dance for shit, I was dreading dipping my foot into the world of alternative electronic music. But duo Blaqk Audio – a side-project of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget – have created a uniquely captivating soundscape with their third record, ‘Material’ reminiscent of their goth punk allies in William Control.
Opener ‘Waiting To Be Told’ launches you into the disorientated and dark land of Blaqk Audio with heavily reverberated synths while the next track ‘First To Love’ stands out with repetitious but poignant lyricism reflecting the typical unrequited love theme. ‘Ceremonial (Burst Into Stars)’ holds little of the underlying darkness of the previous songs but instead sounds like something you’d expect to hear on a night out in Ibiza – make of that what you will. Abruptly and seemingly misplaced, ‘Anointed’ interrupts with a slow and prominent bassline which continues through the sombre vocal progressions of the song.
Another strange turn in the album, the very 90s dance pop ‘Graphic Violence’ is another odd standout with a catchy arcade-esque melody which niggles away in your head. Title track ‘Material’ revisits the reverberating introduction and features a heavy background beat which carries the song to the end. Lastly, the bouncy ‘You Will Hate Me’ finishes the album off on a high note by combining the experimented elements of this record together, showing us what Blaqk Audio are all about.
As someone who hadn’t listened to Blaqk Audio before, for me, ‘Material’ is a strange mish-mash of dark undertones and popular dance music. An acquired taste, but one to be tested if you’re in the mood to challenge your usual go-to music tastes. A little bit like AFI themselves, it’s a love or hate thing.
’Material’ by Blaqk Audio is out now on Blaqknoise/Kobalt Records.
Words by Phoebe Messenger (@kangaezu_)