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AFI - AFI (The Blood Album) album review

Dark and dramatic Californian punks surf a new wave on album number 10

Across 25 years and 10 albums, AFI have defined themselves by their otherness. They came up through the hardcore scene, but their music quickly outgrew their roots: dark, lush, with a gothic glamour and literary lyrical intelligence that elevated them above the identikit punks surrounding them.

This follow-up to 2013’s Burials finds them time traveling back to the 80s and immersing themselves in the new wave movement. The Cure’s influence is writ large in the weighty bass lines and inky atmosphere of Aurelia, and opener Dark Snow even has hints of Duran Duran in its polished synths and inky pop chorus – and in this case that’s not meant as an insult. Get Hurt, on the other hand, sounds like Idlewild at their most cinematic.

The punk energy remains, frontman Davy Havok’s vocal delivery dripping with drama and passion, but with a glorious, gilded production job from guitarist Jade Puget, AFI (The Blood Album) luxuriates in a velvety richness that makes it a sumptuous listen.