Blaqk Audio – Cex Cells

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Blaqk Audio

Cex Cells - Interscope Records

CexCells is like Boxcar Racer while not being remotely similar to it. You may be asking yourself exactly what I mean by that, well, I’ll explain it for you…

You see, when Boxcar Racer released their first (and only) album a few years ago, it’s main selling point was the simple fact that it’s main members were from Blink182. That, right there, guaranteed it a well sized fan base right from the starting gate. Blaqk Audio‘s debut, CexCells, is like that in the way that it is the side project of Davey Havoc and Jade Pugnet of AFI. So, like Boxcar Racer, you can safely assume that CexCells will sell rather well off the starting gates as every AFI fan excitedly tries to hear anything with Davey’s voice on it. It is different than Boxcar Racer though because instead of staying in the same genre, CexCells deviates vastly from the punk sound going for something all together different.

Instead of the Misfits-esque goth punk, Blaqk Audio is a nod to the members’ other influences from the eighties and nineties – those electronic/new wave artists like Depeche Mode and Joy Division. The sad thing is that I don’t know much about the whole new wave genre as it came and went way before I was remotely interested in music. This means I can’t accurately compare it to the bands Havoc and Pugnet are trying to emulate – and I’m fairly certain many of AFI‘s younger fans will fall into the same boat as me.

Despite that though, I can plainly say that while I don’t see who the band is nodding to, CexCells is still an impressive electronic/new wave release. The music pulsates through the speakers, making it the perfect record to blast in a club or to hear through headphones. Jade Pugnet’s melodies and strong and dark, very gloomy and technical and really carries the music forward. The sound is very complex and full of different effects and beats making it so that the songs don’t run together nor do they become tiresome – even on the five minute long tracks.

However, the element that will be dissected the most though is definitely Havoc’s vocals. Techno purists will say that he ruins the song as he sings in his signature style and doesn’t always follow Pugnet’s beat. Conversely, it is those very vocals that AFI fans will devour and love because he’s able to add an extra layer of darkness to the songs that would otherwise be lacking and that wouldn’t be properly conveyed if they went with a different style.

So while I can’t claim to completely understand the album or be able to decipher all the bands Blaqk Audio are paying homage to, I can say I really like the record. Songs like On A Friday, The Love Letter, Bitter For Kittens and Semiotic Love are all worthy of multiple plays and nothing could beat just zoning out and blasting this through some headphones. However, I think people who were more into the wholeDepeche Mode /Joy Division style will find more within CexCells than I was able to.