Julian Casablancas has said that his latest venture with The Voidz has the potential to be commercially successful – “catchy” even. It doesn’t.
Tyranny is not an easy-listening experience. Teaming up with five session musos in the form of The Voidz, Casablancas has been granted unprecedented creative freedom. Tyranny exudes art-punk/prog rock sensibilities that The Strokes loyalists may find alienating, both because of the (illegitimate) rationale, ‘They’ve changed and are now no good’, and because this record is genuinely confounding.
Human Sadness is melodically driven and meandering. You’d think it could slot into 2009’s Phrazes For The Young until you realise it’s 11 minutes long. The destination is unclear, and Casablancas’ falsetto weaves haphazardly through the reeling guitar solos and sporadic electronic percussion. This tune is not without its merits, but experimentation eclipses its finer moments.
Tyranny is the record Casablancas has long wanted to make but never could with The Strokes. But the sprawling complexity of each track is so ambitious it results in an aggressive mess that evokes a real fear of being drowned… in sound.