For years, Julian Casablancas has been viewed as a quintessential rock star, whether he necessarily wants to be or not. From the beginning, Casablancas has used The Voidz as an outlet to push boundaries hard to achieve with the cemented status of The Strokes. With Virtue, The Voidz create an expansive, genre-bending experience and bring us all along for the ride.
The Voidz began in 2013 as Julian Casablancas + the Voidz. Casablancas tapped Jeff Kite, Alex Carapetis, and Jake Bercovici, whom he toured with on his first solo tour, along with Ahmir Yaghmai and Jeremy Gritter, to form the burgeoning band. The band released their 2014 debut, Tyranny, to mixed reviews. Since then, the band announced they will be known as The Voidz moving forward as well as a label change. The band released Virtue with RCA, the same company that produced most of Casablancas’ formidable hits with The Strokes.
On Virtue, the Voidz give us a taste of everything in their arsenal. They open the album innocuously enough with ‘Leave It in My Dreams’ which could easily be a reject from The Strokes’ 2012 Comedown Machine. But from there, the familiarity ends. The next song, ‘QYURRYUS,’ launches us into a warbling, industrial kaleidoscope of textures, not to mention flashes of Casablancas’ auto-tuned voice that hearkens almost to a ‘Blood on the Leaves’ Kanye West. Midway through, we get a somber, lo-fi, acoustic track steeped in nostalgia with ‘Think Before You Drink.’ Towards the end, the band even experiments with Casablancas’ signature flat vocals over a droning breakbeat that sounds like it’s being played in the next room on ‘Black Hole.’
Overall, The Voidz give you their all and then some on the album. Virtue succeeds where 2014’s Tyranny stumbled. The band feels wholly energized and ready to experiment with their sound in a fun way. There is a clear sense of the uniqueness of The Voidz coursing through the album on every track. Casablancas has shed the formulaic rock of his past for the endless chaos of The Voidz.
On Virtue, the Voidz give us an entirely unique album, unable to snugly fit into any category. The album is a journey through the chaotic mind of musicians unmired by expectations. Be sure to pick it up and explore how far you’re willing to go with The Voidz.
For Fans of: Mid Period Strokes, Kanye, Artists who aren't sober
Our Take: An Album with No Genre and No Limits