On its own, "QYURRYUS" is pure insanity. Some fucked-up Arabic chant set to nondescript guitar patterns and filled with the sort of autotune vocals you may have heard in your nightmares. The accompanying video is 80s at their most absurd, and evil. But listen to the same song in the context of this album, and you will see why Julian Casablancas is the Renaissance man of our times.
Like Tyranny before it, Virtue sports a tasteless cover, seventy-five musical genres and your brain clutching at straws while trying to make sense of it all. Still, my advice would be to stick with it, because the songs are largely wonderful. In fact, there's a strong sense that Virtue sounds exactly the way Julian wanted it to sound. Sloppy and all over the place, but that's if you are not paying attention.
I'm not going to pretend that everything works, and how could it ever. "All Wordz Are Made Up" (Julian's unhealthy infatuation with the letter 'z') is somewhat one-dimensional. "Pink Ocean" is somewhat boring. "We're Where We Were" is too much noise against too little substance. But even those few missteps have their saving graces, and picking on them when the goddamn thing features fifteen songs seems a bit petty.
Because "Leave It In My Dreams" is worthy of any Strokes single (listen to it back to back with "Under Cover Of Darkness"). "QYURRYUS" is what it is. "Pyramid Of Bones" has quite a tune underneath all the cheap metal sounds. "Wink" is like a superlative Beck song from the golden Odelay period. "Think Before You Drink" is not unlike Julian's solo record from 2009. "Lazy Boy" is just a good rock song. "Pointlessness" is not quite "Human Sadness", but it's close.
And if someone tells you ah, but what are they trying to say with this record and does it actually make any remote sense, tell them Virtue is better than Is This It and then laugh in their face.