Julian Casablancas veers into dark and complex new territory with The Voidz
Released 13th October 2014
The first decade of the millennium saw Julian Casablancas pioneer two of the most standout albums: Is This It and Room on Fire. His latest project, Tyranny, sees him veer off from the catchy, straightforward rock we have grown accustomed to from The Strokes into a dark and complex world under a new name of Julian Casablancas + The Voidz.
The first release off the album, ‘Human Sadness’ forefronts the group’s ambitions. Lasting 11 minutes, the song is anything but boring filled with intense lows and euphoric highs. Julian’s father, John, had died 18 months earlier and the song appears to bring to life some of the emotion experienced whether it’s the storm of angry guitars introduced around the six-minute mark or the lines echoing the poet Rumi, “beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field/I will meet you there.”
‘Human Sadness’ is segued between two of the most unapologetically punk songs you are likely to hear this year, ‘M.ad A.ssured D.estruction’ and ‘Where No Eagles Fly.’ Casablancas’ notorious perfectionist nature is seen on tracks that are so densely packed with various sounds and effects and then made to sound so lo-fi, you wonder if the effort was worth it like on ‘Johann Von Bronx’. ‘Father Electricity’ is perhaps the most interesting track on the album that sees an African-styled drum beat at its spine, crazy synth and brass solos, and at one point Julian actually scats like he’s on an old jazz album. Of course the album isn’t flawless with songs like ‘Off to War’ and ‘Xerox’ being ashamedly dull and perhaps a touch too self-indulgent.
If there’s one thing you can call Tyranny, it’s brave. The sheer number of disturbing and unique moments illustrates Julian Casablancas + The Voidz’ intentions to create something legitimate and cool, which is more than you can say for most bands today. It won’t be palatable for those expecting another Is This It but it will attract those interested in listening to original and out-there music.