Four years ago, we existed in a comparatively calmer world. Obama was president, the thought of leaving a EU was a lucid pipe dream, and Ed Sheeran was at the top of the charts; in that final aspect, unfortunately, things haven’t really changed.
In amidst all this, unbeknownst to some, The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas put together a six-piece avant-garde punk band called The Voidz, who dropped their debut, 11 minute single Human Sadness, followed swiftly by one of the edgiest albums Casablancas has ever released, and certainly his most exciting since The Strokes’ Room On Fire.
Tyranny was that album. A mad blend of feverish, aggressive songs tackling the economic downturn, the destruction of the environment, and corporate figureheads controlling the government in a bizarre, divide and conquer feudal system. Sound at all familiar? Yes, it seems that Casablancas and co predicted, or rather tried to preempt the world’s steps in chaos, but like with the doomsday scholars of old, we, the masses, did not listen.
In truth, it doesn’t seem like many listened to Tyranny, as Cult Records was reported to be making a loss on it just a few months later. I’m not arguing that if more people had taken in the message of Tyranny we’d be in a less dire political situation worldwide, but frankly, I’ll try anything once.
So why does it matter that Julian Casablancas’ ‘other’ band are returning? “We want Is This It pt.2!”, cry the masses. No, you don’t, shut up. The Voidz are by far the most exciting thing any Strokes member has done in years. BY FAR.
Part of what makes the band so exciting is their tackling of difficult topics, using the energy of punk and metal to represent the repressed fury of the underbelly, to tackle a subject with both subtlety and extreme vividness. You need only listen to songs such as ‘Where No Eagles Fly’ or ‘Xerox’ to hear the contrast. It’s also worth mentioning they have a hilarious heavy metal-via-80s hair band aesthetic.
The Voidz represent a fascinating shift away from the safe indie and rock tropes that New York has been peddling for decades, and with their razor-sharp attention to the turmoil of the times, even when the turmoil isn’t as apparent, you can bet your bottom dollar (and at this rate, it may well be your last one) that the band’s approach will be refueled by a new conviction. God knows music needs more conviction.
The Voidz drop a new album early 2018. Check out the ‘Initiate’ teaser here.