September 11, 2012 - Superball
This review originally ran in AP 291.
The story can now be told: Davey Havok and Jade Puget finished Bright Black Heaven before they completed AFI’s last album, 2009’s Crash Love. Since the duo’s previous album (2007’s Cex Cells) did well, the executives at the major label they were signed to felt consecutive BA discs would somehow affect the band in the marketplace, so it was shelved. But that was then and this is now: Bright Black Heaven finds Havok and Puget delivering more than the widescreen future house anthems (“Let’s Be Honest,” “With Your Arms Around You”) they’ve previously crafted. “Faith Healer” has a electro-post-punk vibe that would sound perfectly in place between the seminal works of Cabaret Voltaire and early recordings on the Factory label. “Bliss” recalls mid-career Depeche Mode but is bolstered by Havok’s vocal dynamics. The proceedings end with “Ill-Lit Ships,” a poignant ballad centered on Puget’s grand piano and Havok’s bittersweet ruminations on a self-destructive lover. These moments of stylistic diversity, as well as the lack of trendhopping (read: no dubstep) makes the continued evolution of Blaqk Audio worth following.