Recommended Tracks: Unstained, Muscle and Matter, Summer’s Out Of Sight
Artists You May Like: Dreamcar, Chvrches, Depeche Mode
It can be difficult finding success with one band, let alone three. With the release of Blaqk Audio’s latest album, Only Things We Love, it seems like Davey Havok and Jade Puget are doing just that. Fans mostly know Davey Havok and Jade Puget from the band, AFI, but the duo are also involved in two other projects together, XTRMST and Blaqk Audio. Out of these two projects, the latter is the more playful, dreamy endeavor.
Starting with the track, “Infinite Skin,” listeners are acquainted with the 80s synth-pop that comprises the album. When I first heard this track, my mind travelled to the movie, Pretty in Pink. It might have been the catchy dance beats or the sounds of the verses, but I felt as if this track could be featured in some modern-day version of the 80s classic or any other John Hughes film from that time period. The lyrics would probably have to change, though, as they lean more towards the darker world that Havok and Puget often gravitate towards in their stories.
While the second track, “The Viles,” is not one of my favorites on this album, it is definitely a stand-out. It begins with monosyllabic words, which Havok pronounces in a dramatic and harsh flair. The staccato phrases provide an interesting contrast to the pulsating, energetic music that occurs throughout the track. One second, you are engulfed by the music and the next, you are immersed in the lyrics.
The fourth track, “Muscle and Matter,” is super sentimental, in that it deals with the idea of growing up. We are told a story about a boy and a girl, who live in a fantasy world. Havok mentions in the chorus, “it’s hard to imagine/imagine the laughter/it’s hard to imagine/imagine your joy,” before closing with “it’s hard to believe that I was a boy.” It seems as though the subject of the song is reminiscing on his childhood and finding it hard to comprehend that he existed in a simpler time. Where does our imagination and our youth go when we get older? Why are things not as fun?
For those familiar with AFI, as well as Dreamcar (another one of Havok’s projects,) we know that a common theme exists in most of their songs. These songs tend to focus on hopeless romantics and darker parts of relationships. We enter this kind of narrative on track six, “Maker,” which is still a bit of a mystery to me. The song’s subject seems to be in this love/hate relationship with his lover. He wants to love this other person, but that person is preoccupied. We don’t know the whole story, but it seems like the relationship is nearing an end.
The synth-pop on track nine, “Enemies Forever,” could make for a nice feature in a video game. I can clearly hear it, without the lyrics, playing on a loop while the protagonist in the game is completing whatever task is at hand. It has great tension and release, nice effects, and creative layers. I was surprised by my infatuation with the music, as I tend to be more of a lyrics person. If you are more of a lyrics person as well, just try to get through this track without losing yourself in its sounds. You might also be surprised.
The album closes with, “Matrimony and Dust,” which showcases the dynamics of Havok’s voice. He can tell a story through his voice alone. The verses are somewhat deep, well within Havok’s comfort zone. When we get to the choruses, he sings in a higher range and his voice becomes a little sweeter. Is he portraying two different characters? Whatever the case, it keeps listeners intrigued until the end.
Only Things We Love does consist of some of the things we love about Havok and Puget’s work. There are a lot of questions and situations that are explored, as well as bright and colorful sounds to enjoy. It could be a while until we get the next Blaqk Audio album, as the two are very busy musicians, but when they do find the time to create it, I am sure they will have gained loads of new fans, ready for more.
You can find Only Things We Love on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.