From writing songs inspired by Brazilian water shortages and black holes to winning an Academy Award for best musical score for film “Her”, Will Butler has certainly been busy in the past few months. Now he has 8 new tracks to share with us in debut solo album Policy.
Truly beginning to separate himself after over a decade with Arcade Fire; Will shows his own musical influences, aligning himself with typical Texan whisky bar music. Opener ‘Take My Side’ and first single ‘Anna’ set the scene of sloppy, sleazy bar room brawls, almost fitting in to a Bugsy Malone type track.
Single ‘Finish Where I Started’ and penultimate song ‘Sing To Me’ provide a much more sombre and honest side to Will Butler, a rare and unexpected separation from the usual escapist indie rock writing that has followed Will’s style in the past. Despite this, the songs both fit in perfectly with the album, providing beautifully sweet lines such as “Someone please finish what I started, it’s good enough when we lie in the darkness”. After the mash up of grubby US rock and melancholic solemn ballads, the album ends abruptly on ‘Witness’, an upbeat, church choir track, you can almost see it being put as a theme song for a terrible 80’s family sitcom. However that’s not to say it isn’t a pleasant and worthwhile listen.
All in all, an uplifting and energetic start to Will Butler’s solo career, stepping out of the Arcade Fire shaped shadow and firmly into his own style and inspirations. Butler certainly has a lot to live up to with such a reputable beginning, but with an upcoming UK tour including London’s Scala and Manchester’s Deaf Institute, it’s hard to see how he couldn’t live up to his already high standing.