Music Review: Casablancas disappoints with ‘Tyranny’

Karla Rendon
Editorial Director

Eager fans of Julian Casablancas will be ecstatic to hear his latest side project’s new album, “Tyranny” is simply pleasant – if you’re into inaudible lyrics and an exaggerated use of distortion.

Casablancas has strayed from his garage-rock roots he grounded with the Strokes in favor of an experimental, art-rock effort. Upbeat guitar riffs have been traded for warped keyboard chords and Casablancas’ cool attitude in his vocals has been changed for a high-pitched, autotune effect.

Released this past Tuesday, “Tyranny” has since been praised by Rolling Stone earning 3.5 stars while Canadian news source Exclaim! gave it eight out of 10 stars.

Julian Casablancas + the Voidz released their first single “Human Sadness” early this month to which fans on social media sites have quickly accepted and unanimously described as saddening.

“Human Sadness” is a daring 11 minute song filled with heavily fuzzy guitars supported by a warped, high pitched keyboard to match Casablancas’ distorted falsetto chops.

The name is fitting for the 11-minutes I spent listening to the song hoping it would get better. The melodies are too repetitive for a song that is over 10 minutes and the lyrics are highly inaudible. You would have to visit Metrolyrics to realize it is actually a thoughtful song with considerate lyrics like, “Now I hear echoes of my old self / This is not the way to be.”

The other 11 tracks on “Tyranny” are not much different than its first single. The overuse of distortion and computer-manipulated vocals get overwhelmingly boring, making the other songs easily forgettable.

Although, there was a small glimmer of hope that the album went beyond the overall obscure tone it set.

The song “Xerox” has a cool melody that will take Casablancas’ fans back to his first solo effort, “Phrazes for the Young.” A soothing song with calm vocals for once on this album, “Xerox” is a perfect song to accompany you on a midnight drive.

“Crunch Punch” is the album’s second song and one that the Strokes’ fans may appreciate due to a small guitar solo that will take them back to their 2006 album, “First Impressions of Earth.”

In the exact middle of the album is, “Father Electricity,” a happier sounding, festive sort of song that is somewhat island-esque. Although lively, the exaggerated use of distortion remains, reminding us that Julian Casablancas + The Voidz were aiming for an experimental sound.

Overall the album is not easy to sing or dance along with like “Phrazes for the Young”. However, if you prefer artistic music with massive angst filled with screeching vocals, then “Where No Eagles Fly” is the exact song you are looking for.

Again filled with an overwhelming amount of distortion on nearly each instrument used for the song, “Where No Eagles Fly” is matched with an equally ostentatious music video filled with amateur graphics of blood drooping down the screen.

Overall, Julian Casablancas + the Voidz’s “Tyranny” is a disappointment for those who long to have heard a bit of the Strokes’ indie rock sound or for those who longed to hear Casablancas’ synth-rock groove from “Phrazes for the Young.”

If you’re prepared to listen to an hour’s worth of crooked instruments and morphed vocals, prepare for “Tyranny.”

Karla Rendon can be reached at and on Twitter @canarybirdkarla.


  1. I think tyranny was an amazing album. Of course hes not gonna sound like the strokes. People should embrace julians solo sound.

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