Davey Havok and Jade Paget make up electro-pop duo Blaqk Audio. Their latest album MATERIAL is due for release April 15 and they have been teasing us with a couple of releases over the last couple of months. Fans of the band will no doubt be satisfied with the sound and direction of the album, however for me, it falls short. Produced and recorded by Puget, MATERIAL is Blaqk Audio’s third release following 2012’s Bright Black Heaven and 2007’s Cexcells.
Listening to Blaqk Audio’s single “Anointed”, I’m instantly taken back to Nine Inch Nail’s album The Fragile. It is poly-rhythmic and hooky in the same way that “Into The Void” or “Where Is Everybody?” is on Trent’s 1999 double disc without the underlying industrial drone. The pin-point precision of the production pushes this track into electro-pop territory. I wouldn’t class this as pure industrial as I remember, it’s just too precise, clinical and clean. The melodies are strong but lack any edge that I expect from a band that skirts the industrial sphere.
Second tease is “Waiting To Be Told”, an uninspiring and conventional proto-trance-tinged electro pop record masquerading as edgy industrial. Nothing about this single sits right with me and it becomes a blur of pop vocals and trance hooks.
This is definitely more pop than dark electronic. Radio-friendly and sure to be a hit with those who buy mainstream and want to dip into something more challenging while retaining that safety net. For the serious dark electronic fan though I think this is just too light, too commercial and too bland.
I enjoyed “Anointed” which is pretty good synthpop. It has sharp lines and a killer chorus but it falls short of being something other than ordinary. “Waiting To Be Told” is transient and forgettable.
Having dipped into their previous releases they are undoubtedly light industrial pop by numbers, all pretty uninspiring stuff. “Anointed” is, as far as I’m concerned their strongest and most listenable release to date.