Will Butler – Policy

Impressive solo effort from Arcade Fire mainstay...

An multi-instrumentalist, composer, and core member of Arcade Fire, Will Butler has broken-free from the Canadian powerhouse to put out his first solo LP, 'Policy'.

It's hard to predict how an album from the youngest Butler brother might sound; on-stage, he's found frantically shifting between a plethora of keys, glockenspiels and guitars while Arcade Fire have re-invented their sound on each record. He delved deep into the world of electronics and synth sounds for their latest, 'Reflektor', and also worked on the piano-centric score for the Spike Jonze film, 'Her' in 2013 – so it's clear he has a broad range of styles and influences to draw from.

While an eclectic mix of sounds do make their way on to the record, there's demo-like fuzz across its eight tracks. 'Policy' clocks-in at under 30 minutes, and adopts a rough-around-the edges, garage-band quality in contrast to Arcade Fire's sprawling, orchestral anthems.

'Anna' is the closest we get to the sound of 'Reflektor'; a simple groove and infectious pulsing synth line carry the track, with Butler unleashing sharp falsettos: think LCD Soundsystem meets Vampire Weekend. The ultra-catchy and hypnotic 'Something's Coming' creates a sense of danger lurking in the trees, marrying a funk-tinged bassline with whispered backing vocal chants, while 'Son Of God' possesses an up-lifting indie-pop chorus.

The intensity of Butler's on-stage antics is captured on the punk-influenced 'What I Want', as his raw vocals become more distressed: "My body's not prepared for this, I can feel my heart beating outta my chest". The energy is reined-in on the under-stated piano balled 'Sing To Me' with Butler admitting, "I'm tired and I don't wanna talk no more".

Although there's nothing exactly groundbreaking here, 'Policy' packs plenty of personality and attitude – fusing sounds from Butler's melting pot of influences, with his own eccentric style and charm.


Words: Tom Skinner

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