Artist: Julian Casablancas + The Voidz
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Label: Cult Records
Let me preface this review by saying that The Strokes are one of my all time favorite bands. With that, comes a deep, undying love for Julian Casablancas. That being said, his new side project, Julian Casablancas + The Voidz is just… really strange. The album is in some nowhere zone (a “Void” perhaps) in the cracks between hair metal, rock, fusion jazz and pop. Every song is different, and every 30 seconds or so the tracks morph and shift into tunes unrecognizable when compared to the start. All of this is topped with a glaze of strained and desperate vocals from Casablancas.
If every album is a journey, “Tyranny” is a bizarre one indeed. It guides you through a dark underworld, a sewer line full of graffiti, neon lights, Atari’s and lots and lots of fingerless gloves (that was a Julian reference, ah, never mind). It’s gritty and abstract and peculiar and fantastic. Also, a good majority of the songs drag on for a long time. The nearly 11-minute long “Human Sadness” is a sleepy trip into the center of the universe, and also features some of the best scream-singing ever. Tracks five and six, “Where No Eagles Fly” and “Father Electricity” are the strongest and most catchy songs on the record, which honestly isn’t saying much, because they are the furthest thing from catchy.
As a fan, I really, really want to like this album. I will admit that the more you listen, the better it gets. If you let go of trying to look for the structure of the songs, and let them carry you on the toxic 90’s musical wave, they are quite enjoyable. Tyranny is like a really deep/sad indie movie. It’s terrible for parties, a little bit boring at times, and is best when you carve out a time to sit, cozy up with a blanket and just enjoy it for what it is.