Julian Casablancas and the Voidz, ‘Tyranny’ – Album Review
The iconic, proud, New York City-rooted frontman of the Strokes, Julian Casablancas, has been changing his tune as of late, both in his music and in his personal life. Recently moving to upstate New York with his wife and kid to get out of the city, Casablancas says he's done with all the juice bars and crowds.
But that didn't stop him from continuing to write and record new music. Recently, the singer-songwriter put together a new experimental record called 'Tyranny' with his solo project's backing band, dubbed the Voidz. The album is filled with plenty of ghostly, melancholy instrumentation and effects paired with some of the singer's most unenthusiastic vocals yet. It's essentially a lot of noise, but that's not a bad thing -- it's a true form of artistic expression for Casablancas who always seemed to have some animosity in the group setting.
The first song on the record, 'Take Me in Your Army,' might be the most depressing way to open a record. It's very slow, with no clear direction. The record does, however, begin to gain traction as it moves forward. The second track, 'Crunch Punch,' sparks the forward journey with a great instrumental arrangement and some Strokes-esque vocals from the singer.
Following that, 'M.utually A.ssured D.estruction' is the most rocking song on the album, packing a heavy intensity that although shines on throughout the album, is most prevalent here. The fourth and fifth tracks, 'Human Sadness' and 'Where No Eagles Fly' respectively, are the album's delegated two singles. 'Human Sadness' has the same mellow auto-tuned vocals that we heard in the Strokes' last record, 'Comedown Machine,' and 'Where No Eagles Fly' pairs quite nicely with the music video released recently.
The last and final song, 'Off to War ...,' is so mellowed-down that it's actually a great way to let this wild and unpredictable album come to a close. It has a bit of a Sigur Rós feel to it given its bizarre tranquility.
All in all, 'Tyranny' is a decent record, although Casablancas' contributions to the timeless hits of his first girlfriend, the Strokes, seem to be a better fit. His first solo effort, 'Phrazes For the Young,' was much more melodic and catchy, but if you haven't given the new album a spin, it deserves a shot on your turntable. If you respect artistic expression, there's no doubt you'll appreciate 'Tyranny' for all its worth.