In Julian Casablancas' most recent release, Tyranny
, an album I was fully expecting to be inordinately difficult to wade through. My assessment could not have been further off. The record goes to some pretty insane places, but it does not lack in cohesiveness. With one well executed move, he has distinguished this project from the Phrazes
era solo material by adding a band to the mix.
Officially, this album is credited to "Julian Casabalncas + The Voidz". (The man is inadvertently still obsessed with the letter Z). The difference is obvious in the sound. Throughout the record, the instrumentation is notably more technical and complex. This is especially clear on songs like, "Johan Von Bronx," where the well paced progressions move through several densely layered suites and movements. The guitar solo on 11 minute long lead single, "Human Sadness," is bombastically pyrotechnic.
Finally, here is some music that sounds absolutely nothing like anything else out there. It's 21st century technological freakout music peppered with jarring sound effects, radio broadcast, and unconventional, labyrinthine song structures. That is what is so crucial about this record right now. It's the anti Songs of Innocence
, that shitty U2 LP that Apple forced into all of our iTunes libraries. It was completely conceived, recorded, and marketed exclusively in house through Casablancas' Cult Records
label (even if he clearly learned a thing or two from Daft Punk about how to expertly roll out an album).
I pre ordered it for less than four dollars. Most importantly, this is what it sounds like when the most prolific genius in american songwriting today gets to a point in his career where he no longer gives a fuck about what anyone thinks. Reports from Brooklyn Vegan that The Voidz covered Three 6 Mafia at their secret show on the 22nd all but proves this. It was a risk that clearly paid off. If all of his past material sounds like exercises in constraint, Tyranny
pulls in the complete opposite direction. Over it's 12 tracks and 1 hour running time, it explores thrash metal, punk, psychedelic, techno, and world music all at once. It shouldn't make sense. But somehow, it does.
is available now
through Cult Records