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The Voidz come back strong on ‘Virtue’

| Friday, April 13, 2018

Lina Domenella

What do you do when you have a midterm, three projects and two essays due in one week, but by the sweep of some miracle with the fervor of Fr. Jenkins’s handshake, half of your deadlines are gratuitously extended? You listen to the new Voidz album, “Virtue.” The potpourri album happens to provide the perfect soundtrack to sporadic oscillations between panicked pen scratching and whimsical daydreaming as you stare out of the 10th-story window in Club Hes.

In 2013 The Voidz were born, giving the world exactly what it didn’t know it needed. You guessed it: a Julian Casablancas project with yet another backing band. The group is like a crossover episode between two of your favorite shows, on which you can enjoy Casablancas’s lulling vocals over the sound of some dreamy synths. The Voidz’ 2014 debut album, “Tyranny,” featured a vibrant mix of sounds, just as would be expected from an experimental side project. The band’s style came out with a bang — only instead of pronouncing the onomatopoeia with ecstatic exclamation points, music reviewers across the web reacted with something like startled question mark sounds.

Fast forward a few years to 2018, The Voidz’ sound exhibits only a sliver more of refinement; but luckily for the band, the world seems to be a bit more receptive to the chaos of different sounds packed into the form of an album (as seen upon the release of all of the King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard records, the rapid popularity growth of BROCKHAMPTON’s 12-man style and dare I say even Cardi B’s latest album). The album begins with “Leave it in my Dreams,” which almost too appropriately displays Casablancas’s classic singing-into-an-iPhone-at-daybreak voice that we all know too well (also featured in “Think Before You Drink”). Though without hesitation, the third song, “Pyramid of Bones,” holds nothing back with shredding guitars as Casablancas now sings as if he is screaming from the next room over. The highly anticipated electronic noises are thankfully not spared from this album, either, as “ALieNNatioN” and “Pink Ocean” give the spotlight to pleasantly hypnotic and dark sounds that comfortably accompany Casablancas’s verses.

Of course Casablancas couldn’t leave without some feel-good tracks that lift the mood whether you’re just trying to listen through the album for the first time or if you’re clocking in a long night in the library. Almost scarily, the album has quite the knack for delivering some decently depressing lyrics in an uplifting, catchy manner. Notably, “Wink” and “Lazy Boy” have the most prominent echoes of some great upbeat classics from The Strokes, but both present lyrics about wandering around with no direction — perfect songs for narrating anyone’s late night in the library.

Although some may stomp their feet at it, there is a lot to appreciate about The Voidz’ desultory style. Why? Well, it’s exactly what Julian Casablancas embodies — a natural-born rock star who wants to be in a place where he can do whatever he wants, but still unfailingly catches the public’s eye. It’s his unpredictability (and unconventional attractiveness) that keeps everyone coming back. Despite the band’s less-applauded first album, they seem to be set on a good path as Virtue has already garnered a lot of positive attention. In a time where chaos seems to be more appreciated, perhaps this path will lead The Voidz to great success.


Artist: The Voidz

Album: “Virtue”

Label: Cult Records/RCA Records

Favorite Tracks: “Wink,” “Pink Ocean”

If you like: The Strokes, Deerhunter, Melody’s Echo Chamber

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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