By: Mike Organisciak
It has been five years since Julian Casablancas released Phrazes of the Young, his first album independent of his work with The Strokes. Now comes another non-Strokes album called Tyranny with his new band Julian Casablancas + The Voidz.
Before its release, Julian Casablancas stated that his intention with Tyranny was to experiment with the space between genres that hasn’t been experimented with. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention anything about trying to make the songs listenable.
The album sets the tone with the first song “Take Me in your Army,”whose dissonant sounds seem to aim at making the listener feel as uncomfortable as possible. Right off the bat, it’s difficult to hear any of Casablancas’ vocals over all the sound. It’s very likely that he’s not actually singing words during the verses.
Luckily, the song “Human Sadness” picks up some of the pieces with its catchy melody and a steady buildup that somehow manages to keep it interesting throughout the entire 11 minutes.
This pattern continues for the entire album. Some songs sound like a cacophonous wall of noise, perhaps a result of being overly ambitious with trying to create a new sound. Fortunately, these wall of noise songs are always followed by more polished songs that sound like they were actually written earlier than the day the album was recorded.
Overall, maybe half of the album is enjoyable and the other half is a bit over the top. But it definitely fulfilled its purpose of experimenting. It’s just that the album doesn’t quite form a cohesive whole. The way the tone jumps all over the place makes it seem like Tyranny was stitched together by a tailor’s apprentice.
If you have more eclectic taste and you’re interested in getting Tyranny, it does comes on a neat USB stick that’s also a lighter on the other end. Which is great, because if you don’t like the album then you’ll at least have a $22 lighter.