The Strokes have been nothing but a great success for Julian Casablancas, so now the lead singer has initiated his own side project with The Voidz. Letting loose with his musical and instrumental freedom, Tyranny is one of the most creative and original albums to make an appearance in 2014.
Experimentation is any musician’s dream come true, and Casablancas explores this in the opening track “Take Me in Your Army”, which leaves a dark lump in your stomach, while playfully using the guitar to produce different sounds, and percussive layers that creates a sublte industrial-eletronic ambience.
Resembling an off-centered and drug-induced Strokes song, “Crunch Punch” starts off seeming like garage-band style, alternative rock track with a catchy hook, but eventually lets loose into a joltingly chaotic mixture of synthesizers and guitars.
Grungy percussions, scratchy guitars and distorted bass riffs, “M.Utally A.Ssured D.E.struction” is a head-banging hit from the album.
“Human Sadness“, the fourth track on the album is an absolute masterpiece and could easily stand apart from the rest of Tyranny. The 11-minute track encompasses noise, sound, music, poetry and passion with every second. The first part of the song hangs on to a flowing bassline melody, that becomes covered with sporadic schrapnel of sounds and distorted vocals (a rare proper usage of auto-tune) that rings home the line “Beyond all ideas of right and wrong there is a field/ I will be meeting you there”.
From the 5 minute mark onward, the song explodes into raw emotion, backed by laser sounds, and a thumping drum part. Each musical component of the song – percussion, synthesizer, guitar, bass and vocals – weave together with movement and precision, stacking on top of each other to create an awe-inspiring song.
Transitioning to the next song feels like coming out of another dimension, espeically when hearing “Where No Eagles Fly“, which sounds like Nine Inch Nails hammering in The Strokes with fast-tempo percussion and loud, grungey vocals.
Four of the tracks from Tyranny surpass six minutes in length and “Father Electricity” is one of them, with hints of latin-based rhythm and percussion mashed together with alternative rock elements.
Flashing back to 90s alt-rock, “Business Dog” is two minutes of a catchy rock hook slammed out from an electric guitar – “Good job, Business Dog”.
The remainder of the album continues to expand the playfulness of the eletric guitar and the endless possibile forms of distortion. “Xerox”, “Dare I Care” and “Nintendo Blood” approach the end of the album on an energetic and dynamic level.
“Off to War…” completes the cycle of the album, finishing the first track’s original theme. If you play the songs in succsession, they virtually line up musically and can be seen as two parts.
Listen to the entire album for yourself via Stereogum.