There are two kinds of experimental, the kind that works, and the one that gets the mad scientist’s lab blown up. Julian Casablancas latest solo effort is the latter.
Tyranny is a montage of a lot of different sounds, most of which, quite frankly, do not go well together. The music seems like it was cut out and pasted together clumsily. Dizzying melodies twirl around on repeat, providing the only source of focus and Julian’s famous voice sounds lost, dull, or just plain unintelligible, even when he’s yelling wildly.
There are some happy little accidents: an aggressive, almost-Muse-like intro on “M.utually A.ssured D.estruction”, the simple strings and bass throb of “Human Sadness”, the rhythms of “Johan Von Bronx”. In the 62-minute album, these moments are like drops of water in the Sahara.
Tyranny might be called artistic, rebellious, interesting, weird, etc., but all of that means nothing if it sounds like a hot mess.