Former frontman turned solo artist Julian Casablancas, along with new backing band ‘The Voidz’ are embarking on a new project, Tyranny. Released on Casablancas’ record label, Cult Records, Tyranny is a far cry from the music he released with New York band, The Strokes. The record is innovative, abstract, and boasts a plethora of noises.

Having waited five years for a new solo release from Casablancas, Tyranny has been highly anticipated by fans – and if they are hoping for a rekindling of Strokes-esque tunes, then they’re out of luck, as Tyranny has elevated his work to a whole new level, the result being positively transdimensional. Casablancas’ life outside of music may have settled down, but this certainly isn’t reflected in his music, which is just as drastic and ground breaking as it was in his youth.

Highlights of the record include the tracks ‘Crunch Punch’, ‘Nintendo Blood’ and ‘Where No Eagles Fly’ – these songs are filled with pure energy fed through a crackly amp. They are solid, stand-alone songs that, when thrown into the mix of the new record, make for a transcendent music experience.

There is no clear beginning, middle or end to this record. From the scaling melodies of ‘Father Electric’ to the many layers of ‘Business Dog’, tension is heightened and released more times than can be counted. Occasionally, you’ll stumble upon a moment in a song when you think, “This is it, he’s got it.”, only for the song to take a full
360 degree turn.

It seems that Casablancas went into the studio, broke the shackles holding him back and let rip. He was quoted explaining that he had wanted to be writing ‘weirder, darker, more aggressive stuff for years.’ – and he certainly hasn’t held back. If it was a new sound he was looking for, (and it certainly appears so) Julian Casablancas has opened his very own Pandora’s Box – and to great avail. ‘Tyranny’ makes it hard to link Casablancas to his previous work with The Strokes.

The fourth song on the record, ‘Human Sadness’, is definitely one of the stranger songs on the record. The eleven minute track spans through so many different phases that it regularly seems as if another track has begun. With the overlapping melodies, every listen of this song can be likened to rereading a novel and picking up on the little
treasures you missed. These phases bleed into each other until the track is so disordered and macabre that it is reminiscent of riding a ghost train while a sci-fi, dystopian b-movie is blasted in the background.

Although this record is unlike his previous work, it is some of the best work Casablancas has put out in a long time. Tyranny is nothing like the music of The Strokes, which may expose the new album to an entirely new demographic. There is very little ground for comparison since Casablancas’ past ventures and ‘Tyranny’ are worlds apart. It’s new and exciting, which is hopefully what fans are looking for.

Casablancas has reached a point in his career where he is unafraid to release the music that he, and he alone, wants to make. Relieved of expectations to conform to, Tyranny is very much an expression of freedom that documents Julian Casablancas’ transformation into the musician that he has always wanted to be.

[rating:4]