Will Butler - Policy Album Review

“Policy” is a mixed bag that shows promise in its more rock-based moments. | www.butlerwills.com

“Policy” is a mixed bag that shows promise in its more rock-based moments. | www.butlerwills.com

At the heart of Arcade Fire, the Grammy-winning Canadian indie rock outfit, are brothers Win Butler — lead singer and primary songwriter — and William Butler, who has carved a name for himself as a gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer. Just a couple of years ago, William showed his mettle and diverse talents, composing music for Spike Jonze’s sci-fi romance, “Her.” Looking to further step out from under his brother’s shadow, Will released “Policy” — a stripped-down rock and roll record built to get you on your feet and dancing to a long-gone era.


“Take My Side” starts things off at full throttle with brusque storytelling, simple chords and focused energy. Pulling influences from Rod Stewart, Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan, Butler transfuses these into an amp and shoots it up to eleven on tracks such as “Son of God,” the clever “What I Want” and the Bruce Springsteen-esque “Witness.” Layered with pulsing pianos and hyper female backing vocals, listeners will easily catch on to the fun vibe that probably permeated the recording sessions. This is where the album shines — combining terrific melodies with instantly relatable lyrics dealing with relationships moving too fast, the possibility of the existence of God, and insecurity.

On other tracks, Butler mixes these classic sounds with the same jagged instrumentation found on Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” in cuts like the looping “Something’s Coming” and the disco-drenched “Anna,” which feels the most out of place on the record due to its jazzy horn propulsions. On the other end of the spectrum, he brings it down several notches on the emotional ballad “Finish What I Started” and on the minimalist “Sing To Me.”


In the end, it seems like Butler has mixed two EPs — one that highlights his rock and roll upbringing and another that, for the most part, feels like a hodgepodge of concepts and ideas. I hope Win settles on the former and cultivates a new role as rock and roll savant that eschews the modernist trends of the day, and instead embraces something that feels fresh — a classic sound.

Album Review By: David Vendrell 

Read other reviews and more from David at Musings & Matinees


David Vendrell

Hello, my name is David Vendrell and I’m an arts & entertainment-oholic. My journey with this disease started at an early age. My parents, the terrible influences that they are, exposed me to movies, music, and books at an early age. I became immediately addicted. I lost friends, my grades dropped, hair started falling out. Some call this shaving. I call it a symptom. When I reached those tender high school years, I began hanging with the wrong crowd — film students. We were the outcasts, ready to stir up trouble at any opportunity. Have you ever killed a man with a camera? I haven’t, but I’m sure it’s possible.Ostracized from my sober South Florida homestead, I trekked to the only place where I knew I could get my fix — Los Angeles. I started to meet other people like me while hiding out at Biola University’s cinema and media arts department. I joined up with the business administration drones too. Hey, I have an addiction to support. I worked my way up the ranks, interning at companies all around Hollywood, cooked up my own batch of stories and have started consorting with the bigwigs. I got in deep.Of course, my life is just now spiraling out of control as I have become the arts & entertainment staff writer in the misfit group called the Chimes. On the run from the law and on the edge of sanity, I’ll be delivering you material every week. Get ready, kids. You’re going to get hooked. This is hot stuff.