By Drew Barber
Artist: Julian Casablancas & The Voidz
Release Date: Sept. 23, 2014
Label: Cult Records
The second album for Julian Casablancas & The Voidz, “Tyranny,” has awoken something inside me that I can’t really describe yet.
Being a huge fan of The Strokes and of The Voidz’s first album, “Phrazes for the Young,” I have been patiently waiting for their second album. To be completely honest, I was a little skeptical of this album when I began listening to it.
This album opens up with the song “Take Me In Your Army.” The music is dreary, a clash of rock and electronic beats, and Casablancas’ distinctive, deep, sultry voice is masked and distorted. I felt kind of defeated, I wanted a good fix of fresh new music from Casablancas, the beginning of what I had thought would be my new album to binge on didn’t satisfy me. I was not going to give up easily. I began listening on and have become hypnotized with certain songs in this album.
“Tyranny” has a totally different approach than “Phrazes for the Young.” While “Phrazes for the Young” had many pop-synth ’80’s beats, “Tyranny” has grit to it. Some songs have a punk undertone, some are experimental and some songs still have that synthy ’80’s sound from the first album. One song that made me stop absolutely everything that I was doing at the moment was “Human Sadness.” Although Casablancas’ voice is masked and distorted throughout the entire album, his voice shines through this song and brought me right back to the first time I had ever listened to the first Strokes album. I could feel my breathing slow down and my heart drop all over again as the song progressed on. This song is the longest one on the album, reaching a whopping 11 minutes, but it is the most promising and worth the listen.
The two other songs that really caught my attention were “Where No Eagles Fly” and “Business Dog.” These two songs both have a punk feel to them, which is very exhilarating and new to hear from Casablancas. While I really enjoyed these songs, the music behind “Business Dog” sounded vaguely familiar to me, and then it clicked; it sounds like a sped up, rawer version of “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. This, however, isn’t a bad thing in my eyes, but after listening to this album a few times I still am unable to express fully how I feel. It is strange, different and darker than previous albums in great ways and in not so great ways. It pulls at weird feelings of uncertainty in me, but a part of me is pressing on, wanting to listen for more. Despite my uncertainty, this album is very mysterious and deserves a listen none the less.