Published Sep 23, 2014Whether the project is with the Strokes or a new solo endeavour, there's always a sense of excitement and apprehension before the first listen of a Julian Casablancas project. The prospect of Casablancas assembling a brand new band, one that includes two members of his touring band, was enough for any Casablancas fan to be optimistic about the end product, and thankfully that optimism has been rewarded: Julian Casablancas + The Voids' Tyranny ranges from punk to alt-pop, Caribbean Zouk to fuzzy electronica. There's a lot to take in, but start to flick through the multiple sonic layers and you find classic songwriting ideas pulled off with stylistic aplomb.
Granted, some of these ideas are crammed into a single track, such as on first single "Human Sadness," which encompasses the entirety of the album sonic landscape into an 11-minute opus. "Human Sadness" is an appropriate entry-point to the album, even if it finds itself midway through the full-length, because it touches on some of the more straightforward punk tracks like "Business Dog" and current single "Where No Eagles Fly," while hinting to the pop sensibility of "Nintendo Blood" and "Xerox."
At its core, Tyranny is a seriously sad album, and while not initially apparent through the busted-speakers aesthetic, the lyrics betray frustration, alienation and sadness for the world we've inherited. Casablancas has called this new outing a protest album, one that explores the "in-between areas in music that haven't been exploited" and on that point alone, it's a roaring success. And while these "in-between areas" are not always sonically pleasant, you can't accuse them of being dull; they make Tyranny the compelling album that it is. (Cult)