The Voidz: ‘Virtue’

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How does Julian Casablancas want to be remembered? It’s been 17 years since the release of The StrokesIs This It, and I think Julian is finally a little tired of being a Stroke. I never thought that I could have typed this sentence, but I also didn’t ever expect to be this taken aback by a new VOIDZ album. I should have realized when they dropped Julian’s name from The Voidz, I suppose. “Oh, I guess they want to be a real band instead of just a side project” is how I thought about it. And after listening to “Leave it In My Dreams” for the first time, I just kept on thinking about how it only sounded like the Strokes for about eight seconds. But then we got to “QYURRYUS”. WHAT AM I LISTENING TO? WHAT MAN IS THIS?  How was this the man that gave us “Last Nite”???

Indeed it is. And he does not give a DAMN what you expect. Where the previous Voidz album left me looking for something more melodic in the waves of super compressed noise, Virtue instead reigns in the noise of its predecessor Tyranny and brings us almost an hour of new jamz (sorry, the z is going to come out a few timez here) for us to wrap our heads around. Ostensibly at the forefront of the main creative process of the Voidz as a whole, this could be one of the biggest creative flexes of Julian Casablancas’ career.

It seems pretty hyperbolic once it’s all typed out, but the sheer amount of genres he crams into nearly every song (and successfully, in my humble opinion) is pretty staggering. Be it the schlocky ’80s hair metal guitars in “Pyramid of Bone” or the ’00s pop piano and hip hop influenced drum sounds on “ALieNNatioN,” or the downright Latin sounding percussion on “All Wordz are Made Up”—and how he uses the vocoder to essentially change the key signature on “Wordz” in the second half—Julian feels in control. Does he make it look easy? You bet. I don’t even know if they can play all of these songs live, since theres so impossibly much going on at once.

Right now: Forget about a legacy. Do you feel it? Is that what rock and roll feels like in 2018? Does it even really matter? Julian Casablancas knows what he’s doing. By some strange coincidence he’s decided that no, he’s not done. This timeline is real weird, but at least our boy still has some jamz in him.

8.5/10

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