Sound — 9
From the introductory track, Stiff Kittens, Cex Cells cements it's position as an album that should be danced to, with it's slow, but rhythmic musical leanings developing into something of a synthesized masterpiece, reaching levels of intensity rivalling those captured by even AFI. Of course comparisons between Davey Havok and Jade Puget's AFI and this side project will be rife since Davey's trademark haunting voice still runs over Jade's equally distinctive synth inspired melodies. On tracks such as Snuff on Digital and Semiotic Love offer the ultimate examples of Blaqk Audio's charismatic sound, beginning with different types of rhythms yet each develops with Davey's voice soaring over drum beats and intricacy that shall be appreciated by anyone with an ear for anything interesting and fresh to modern music. Blaqk Audio breaks barriers by making emotive music full of sincerity on tracks such as Cities of night, where what sounds like strings charge into the chorus, complementing Davey's voice perfectly. The ingredients and the chefs are the same, trusted formula, but instead of stirring it clockwise as they do in AFI, Davey and Jade have taken the pot by storm and stirred it clockwise, and I think there may even be a guitar solo on Cities of the night for a touch of pepper on a finished dish.
Lyrics — 9
Again, Again, and Again, a neurotic, paranoid track with a repeating circular rhythm encompassing how water feels when water spins down a drain is a lyrical highpoint of Davey's poignant lyrics on this album. I really should have mentioned it in the sound section, but the piano playing on this album is fabulous. On Again, Again, and Again, there's a spot for a solo, and is reminiscent of those pianos one imagines playing in classical music, but the fact is, Blaqk Audio have finally managed to compose a song that has evaded the music industry for years. It's a track in which Davey's voice sounds just like a grand piano, not literally of course, but his voice and the piano intertwine so beautifully and seamlessly that I simply had to leave it to the lyrics and vocals section because Jade uses the piano to the optimum, giving it a voice of it's own. That sums up the whole album, everything has a voice of its own. Davey's lyrics are of course glorious as ever, poetic, dark and tangibly better than anyone else's in modern music. 'I've seen what you have made in all it's beauty. What I cannot create I recognize.' Davey is, as usual enigmatic, charismatic and, with Jade has sought to innovate while incorporating all of his influnces, ranging from Bowie to Duran Duran and Joy Division.
Overall Impression — 8
Well, Blaqk Audio offers something that DecemberUnderground only ever hinted at in songs such as 37mm. Perhaps Jade and Davey could have included more songs for us to marvel at, but as usual with these two, it's quantity over quality. In its own right, Cex Cells is the ultimate electro album because it doesn't represent what today's club scene does. Instead of drug fuelled insanity, Blaqk Audio offers a concise album, for those of us who feel reflective, upset or despondent, butdoesn't stop where Joy Division did. To end on a critical perspective is fitting, since after this review I should be on Davey's Christmas card list and also first in line for backstage passes to his gigs, so here goes. Blaqk Audio should use this debut album as a stepping stone to greater things. In the future one hopes to see them play faster, slower and perhaps even incorporate Davey's scream and Jade's guitar. Well, not many rockers could hope to be ambitious or daring enough to experiment in such a diverse genre, that could, indisputably be frowned upon by so many of their hardcore fans. Did I mention they pulled it off fantastically well?