CexCells Review

artist: Blaqk Audio date: 12/23/2007 category: compact discs
Blaqk Audio: CexCells
Release Date: Aug 14, 2007
Label: Interscope
Genres: Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
Blaqk Audio, the electronic side project of AFI's Davey Havok and Jade Puget, will finally see the light of day in the form of the debut album CexCells.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) 19 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
CexCells Reviewed by: UG Team, on august 16, 2007
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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? // 8

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overall: 8
CexCells Reviewed by: deadhand329, on august 11, 2007
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Refered to as 'two boys in love with synthesizers', Blaqk Audio is the much anticipated side project of Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI. On their debut, CexCells, these two punk rockers make quite a departure from the comfort zone of their typical sound in AFI. While more recent AFI albums have had hints of electronica in them, CexCells is completely driven by synth and beats. Puget shows his programming skills masterfully and creates sounds that are catchy and cool. // 9

Lyrics: Though classified as Dance/Electronica, the lyrics are deeply invested in the Emo movement of recent AFI albums. One may have trouble dancing to dance beats with lyrics about suicide superimposed over the music. But the lyrics cover a broad range of topics, From "Bitter For Sweet", which addresses suicide, to "Between Breaths XX", which doesn't even try to pretend it's not about sex ("so climb on top, and I'll never stop, til I make you forget who you are"). Overall, Davey writes and sings with passion and that's all that really matters. // 8

Overall Impression: For fans of AFI, it's hard to say whether purchasing "CexCells" is a good investment. "Bitter For Sweet", which was originally intended for AFI's latest album, "Decemberunderground", sounds the most like AFI (for obvious reasons). The album certainly shows a different side of Davey and Jade and possibly foreshadows where AFI are headed in the future. For electronica fans, it is not a fast passed album. The songs are slow paced so they may become boring, leaving your finger searching for the "skip track" button. But, I say buy the album and give it a shot. // 7

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overall: 8.3
CexCells Reviewed by: asteria24, on december 23, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Because it was the side project of Jade Puget and Davey Havok of A.F.I., fans expected Blaqk Audio and A Fire Inside to be similar. While sharing a few characteristics (i.e. Davey Havok's soaring vocals), on the whole it differs greatly. Whereas A.F.I. has a more edgy, hardcore rock sound, Blaqk Audio is techno fury. Nevertheless, Cex Cells still retains that dark synthesized sound which Havok and Puget first unleashed on the world in A.F.I.'s Decemberunderground, then unleashed in Blaqk Audio. The album has a danceable feel to it, balanced out with some slow tracks, perhaps too many. It also yields a pleasant surprise at the end with a cover of Blur's "Boys And Girls" (on the ltd. edition CD). // 7

Lyrics: All of the songs are about a love relationship, though at times it is unclear whether Havok is talking about a gay relationship or a straight one or possibly both. While most of the songs are about sex, a few show an insight into a deeper attatchment, like "Semiotic Love" and "The Love Letter". The extraordinary imagery sets a beautiful tone for the album. At times the lyrics do not fit completely with the music, but overall, the CD has some very sexy beats, and the lyrics emulate that. Havok's unique vocals add to to the "cexyness", although they can be a bit nasal at times, as with his other albums. // 9

Overall Impression: This reviewer cannot think of another album to compare this to, but then again, I have not heard many techno albums before. Some highlights are "Snuff On Digital", "On A Friday", "Again, Again ang Again", and "Black Electric" (ltd. edition). I especially loved the poetic imagery in the lyrics, although I think they should have put more fast songs (after all, this an electronica/dance album). If my copy of the album were stolen/lost, of course I would buy it again, because if not, I would always grieve over my darling Blaqk Audio. // 9

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