Five years of “Virtue” and excellence

Commemorating The Voidz sophomore album for its fifth anniversary.

The album art of The Voidz’ second studio record.

Felipe Pantone

The album art of The Voidz’ second studio record.

Brianna Nusom, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Established in 2013, The Voidz is a six-piece alternative and indie rock group composed of guitarist Amir Yaghmai, drummer Alex Carapetis, bassist Jacob Bercovici, keyboardist Jeff Kite, guitarist Jeramy Gritter, and vocalist Julian Casablancas, who is also notable for his simultaneous time spent as the frontman of The Strokes. 

Released on March 30, 2018, “Virtue” offers neo-psychedelic elements supported by computer-synthesized and electronic components. Released under Cult Records, a standalone label founded by Casablancas in 2009, “Virtue” comprises 15 total tracks, including a rendition of Michael Cassidy’s “Think Before You Drink” (1978) which adopts the same title but reworks the style and the lyrics of the song. 

The neo-psychedelia “Leave It In My Dreams” opens this experimental rock album with a clean, reverberated guitar and bass before exploding into the full band ensemble shortly after. As the first single released for the album, and standing as the most popular track within The Voidz’ catalog, ”Leave It In My Dreams” is easily one of the most accessible tracks of their second album. 

“QYURRYUS” (Curious) transitions the tone previously established into a darker synth-pop with a beat that pulsates with every section. With its static-like solo following the second chorus, Casablancas takes the listener to a slightly more mainstream quality in the lyrics and vocals. This section includes references regarding The Voidz themselves such as “Public is confused,” referring to the discography of The Voidz, and “Minor but major,” which is Casablancas’ username on Instagram. “QYURRYUS,” standing out for its curious composition, brings the track to a close with Casablancas’ back-and-forth battle between the interchanging intoned and vocoder-ed runs, and the unaffected background vocals. 

The mind-expanding track of “Pyramid of Bones” uses an aggressive guitar (compared to the other tracks on the album) and shows off the drumming talents of Carapetis. The glam metal-esque track includes amazing instrumental notes that further elevate Casablancas’ standout vocals. 

Contrasting the aggressive composition of “Pyramid of Bones,” the alliterated title “We’re Where We Were” is more directly accusatory and abrasive with regard to the lyrics. Clocking in at 164 beats per minute, the blatant verses supported by the inconsistent beats of the instrumental break accuse society of being stuck in a repetition of genocidal events in history.   

Bleeding into the final track of the album, “Pointlessness” conveys nihilistic tones through Casablancas’ repeating line “What does it matter?” The simplicity of the sole synth in the opening truly gives a gut-punching feeling that furthers the hopelessness of the track. Following the first refrain section, Carapetis enters, bringing the overall tone and pace up a notch. Contradicting the criticism within all of the album’s previous tracks, Casablancas’ frayed vocals project a message that, in the end, nothing matters. 

As a whole, “Virtue,” portrays overall deeper messages hidden beneath each track so listeners can just appreciate the tracks (i.e. the composition especially). The album itself received a reasonable amount of praise, a mix of reviews consisting of listeners taking what is given on the album and comparing it to Casablancas’ projects with the Strokes, which are considerably more recognized as mainstream. 

Although a significant audience was not reached ― as hoped with the release of the album ― “Virtue” displays an array of tones, structures, and themes within the tracks. “Virtue” remains a notable work within The Voidz’ discography and a pivotal record for the alternative and indie scene.