Tyranny, the new record from Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas continues the odd journey he began on 2009’s Phrazes for the Young. There’s flashes of 80’s new wave, raw and glammy CBGB’s punk, and distorted vocals that sound like they were recorded with two soup cans and forty feet of string. Tyranny is 180 degrees from what you might expect from Casablancas…making it one of the most exciting records of the year.
It’s a total departure from the robotic precision of the Strokes rhythm section. There are plenty of razor sharp riffs, but they’re buried under walls of hard drive fall out and pummeling drums. Casablancas reaches deep to deliver his cryptic sonnets backed by a top-notch gang of weirdos who seem fully equipped to match his madness one measure at a time. Check the eleven minute brain train that is “Human Sadness”, Julian’s most elevated jam to date.
This batch of noise is miles ahead of another phoned in Strokes album. Tyranny a gorgeous mess, and we’re better off for it.