Dark edge delights
Into the Void comes as a perfect adjunct and counterpoint to Blaklight’s first Music in a Time of Uncertainty. It’s a sublime mixture of rolling synths and a dark edge provided by the voice and lyrics of Brian Belknap (Mind Machine) that resonate with the times we are living in, whilst still having a delicate touch.
The fact that it was recorded remotely, with Adam Collier, (Crush333, MDA, Full Frontal Disco) doing all the programming and playing in his home studio, while Belknap squeezed his vocals into domestic life makes it all the more impressive. The band only met in person a matter of a week or two ago and it’s quite something that this is so effortlessly cohesive.
There’s a really strong commercial appeal here, with earworms aplenty, as well as just enough darkness to give it something special. There are stand out tracks, like ‘World’, which features Magnus Dahlberg (MORE). The song has deceptively simple melodies but packs a punch, juxtaposing hope and beginnings with loss.
‘Vampires’ (featuring the incomparable Gene Serene from The Frixion) works beautifully, somehow blending the male and female voices so both are the stars. The album as a whole holds together as an entity, enhanced by the addition of the guitars of Pano Coromelas, making it far more than just a so-called ‘Darkwave’ album, elevating it to something supremely commercial and modern. It delivers Collier’s melodies at their most evocative, dare I say poppy best and Belknap’s vocals as a pungent, sometimes melancholic but also hopeful counterpoint.
The production is masterful, and as much as that might be a cliche, it’s true, delivering pin drop icy purity whilst not losing warmth or accessibility.
Based on the quality of this, and the previous album, they’re going to be a joy to see live (March 19th 2022 with Vain at Bar Sinister in Hollywood CA) as there isn’t a single weak song here. A second album that was worth the wait and delivers everything,
Blaklight are already working on their third album, another single release from Into the Void in December and an Into the Void remixes album in the new year. They’ve also contributed an exclusive track to Darkness Calling’s charity album You Are Still Not Alone, namely ‘A stranger calls’.
The influences are there, from Depeche Mode, through Erasure, by way of the Pet Shop Boys to OMD, but this is uniquely Blaklight.
The album is unselfish, showcasing both their own talents and those of their collaborators, and maybe that’s part of what makes it so good. It’s not pompous and egotistical, it’s complex and beautifully paced throughout. Thoughtful and yet escapes being preachy by a long margin.
Into the Void is out now.