Published Apr 02, 2018It's been a very long time since I've heard Julian Casablancas have this much fun. Virtue, the second offering from art rockers the Voidz, is a constantly shifting soundscape. They set up expectations in one moment, only to have them inverted and made into parody the next. The opening track, "Leave It In My Dreams," is beautiful, drenched in synth and Casablancas's falsetto, much more reminiscent of an early Strokes song than anything else on the record.
When the synth finally dies away, we are slammed right into "QYRRUYUS," a pulsating, sinister groove that sounds like the love child of Yeezus and Falco. Gone are the smooth, glittery vocals, now low and gruff that shoot up to desperate, auto-tuned wails. This all culminates to a macabre call-and-response between the militaristic "I've lost what's mine" and Casablancas in full Kanye mode.
The Voidz even enter into riff-rock territory with tracks like "Pyramid of Bones" and "One of the Ones." It is a strange take on riff-rock, either descending into madness and noise or transforming into something entirely different.
Some of the most poignant moments on the album aren't always during the digital chaos. "Think Before You Drink" is a quiet meditation on nature, war and general human nastiness. Casablancas is at his most vulnerable, blanketed in acoustic guitar. Virtue is as fun as it is challenging and is both catchy and complex. (RCA)