ALBUM: "CexCells" (Interscope)
Backstory: After years of teasing their fans with hints of keyboards and programming, AFI members Davey Havok and Jade Puget have finally embraced their love of manufactured beats, overbearing synths and three-digit BPM tempos on this side project. Say goodbye to AFI’s goth-punk—this is 20 years of underground dance music infused into 12 songs.
Why you should care: If Justice can get props for aping Daft Punk, then Blaqk Audio deserve equal credit for pimping out their own influences. This is no French disco, however; the beats and key-tar sounds on “CexCells” straddle the line between the harsh, minimalist thump of Nitzer Ebb (“Stiff Kittens”), the warmer grooves of modern-industrial giants VNV Nation (“Snuff on Digital”) and the pathos and sexual tension of Depeche Mode (“Where Would You Like”).
Verdict: Just when the phrase “dance-punk” was getting tiresome, Blaqk Audio reinvigorate the concept by embracing the forgotten (and surprisingly welcome) industrial noise of their past. And keyboards or not, “Kittens” kicks as hard as any Warped Tour or Ozzfest anthem.
X-Factor: Industrial legends KMFDM once sang, mockingly, that they created their music “by machines…because they don’t make mistakes.” Apparently, Blaqk Audio took this to heart: according to Puget, there are “no real instruments” to be found anywhere on the record.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times