AFI, "Crash Love"

73 Billboard Rating

AFI's eighth studio album, "Crash Love," remains faithful to the arena-ready pop noir that made the rock band a multiplatinum superstar earlier this decade. Singer Davey Havok once again puts on his best Smiths-esque strut while dancing his way through glammy new wave beats, bouncy rhythm sections and first-pumping choruses. The track "End Transmission" is dressed up in '80s charm, bolstered by a punchy bassline and pounding keys, while gang chants and pulsating synths pepper "I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here." Listeners will be hard pressed to find a single screamed vocal; it's as if AFI has finally made the transition from "Nightmare Before Christmas"-like spook punk to polished goth-pop. Even though "Crash Love" isn't terribly progressive in scope and the band's '80s idolatry might one day run its course, the set is ultimately another highlight in a discography that's as consistent as it is expansive.-Evan Lucy

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