Is it truly necessary to go over the persona that is Julian Casablancas? Yes, he is the Strokes’ crooner who also released a one shot solo record. Still, sometimes limiting people to a few sentences fails to embody all they’re truly capable of achieving. While great, The Strokes are only a fragment of his musical range. Casablancas is a visionary, and one of the most successful talents among his contemporaries. His latest effort, Tyranny (featuring The Voidz) is an important symbol of rebellion, not just from conventions, but from his musical comfort zone. It easily could have turned out as a shallow distraction of a record, instead it is a thorough artistic exploration of elements of lo-fi, punk, and even some death-metal.
Human Sadness, a lush and detailed eleven-minute experiment, surprisingly stays listenable throughout its length. Sounding like a modern twist on Hüsker Dü, Pixies, and The Cramps, Where No Eagles Fly is accompanied by some catchy synth riffs. In many tracks here, the singer sounds quite haunted among a haze of abrasive distortion and hidden lambent melodies. Vocally, Casablancas is known for going off on tangents that sometimes feel out of place in the context of the Strokes. The songs on Tyranny effortlessly embrace all those Julianisms, where they no longer feel odd. The record flows fluidly backed by its glitchy vintage aesthetic. Tracks like Father Electricity, Crunch Punch, and Nintendo Blood are some of its highlights. Tenth track Dare I Care, however, drags on feeling slightly redundant when compared to some of the more dynamic numbers on Tyranny. That doesn’t stop this record from standing out as a great manifestation on Casablancas and The Voidz’s behalf.
The Strokes is a group of many talents that as one, have created wonders, and also gone through some bumps along the way. It makes sense that Casablancas, being the main creative source of the lot, would embark on this project. It is plausible to infer he has outgrown the group that brought him great success, and that might not be a bad thing at all. Clearly, the man has a musical gift, one that until now he might have not fully shared with his following. Now that he has, one can’t help but anticipate future projects, and also wonder what goes on in such a seemingly troubled mind.