Highlights: Take Me In Your Army, Crunch Punch, Human Sadness, Dare I Care
What a hilariously absurd album. Hats off to Julian Casablancas.
No, really. I have no idea what is happening half the time. Some goddamn radio jingles a la The Who Sell Out? Classical strings? A fucking bleep coming out of the blue in “Business Dog”? A song called “Xerox”? What is this? Not even Kevin Barnes at his most ridiculous could hope to reach such demented heights.
Tyranny is an album to lose yourself in. Don’t try to understand it – this will either result in cognitive dissonance or complete nervous breakdown. I do of course realise that losing yourself in this madness is not advisable to normal people but since when normal people have any say in the world of art.
And is this art? You fucking bet it is. Adventurous, inventive, inexplicable, bizarre – and, to counter Scott Walker’s latest exploits in the world of musical impenetrability, actually accessible. You realise this is a guy from The Strokes who has previously collaborated with Daft Punk and recorded a witty electropop album as a solo artist. And Casablancas is an artist, in every sense of the word. Tyranny is this expansive, expressionist work of a restless but hugely talented individual who doesn’t sit on his ass but is ready to do something.
Let’s be as relevant as this album and say that Julian Casablancas has a very strange fascination with the letter ‘z’. First, Phrazes For The Young. Now he is playing with a band called The Voidz. Some consistency. Genre-wise this is marked as neo-psychedelia, experimental and noise rock. Seems apt. Now imagine Julian’s sagging vocals that constantly switch to angelic falsetto to husky screams. Imagine the sort of melodies that can never decide whether they want to be catchy or subversive. And the sound: stuffy, pounding, clanking, never for a second striving for clarity. And hereby the dysfunctional world of Tyranny is created. Preposterous and filled with a million little hooks and tricks you will keep discovering for many days and weeks to come. 62 minutes. “Human Sadness” alone going for ten-plus. From the ridiculous to the sublime.
This is my new favourite album of all time.
Shoplifters of the world unite.
I didn’t really mean one of those.