Will Butler, “Policy”
Do you like American music? Will Butler likes all kinds of music. The Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist and percussionist (and younger brother of Win) was, in the band’s latent years, the visual embodiment of its once unbridled, wild soul—you used to never know what might happen at an Arcade Fire show, and you’d certainly never expect what antics Will Butler might pull during one of them. On his solo debut, Butler again and again demonstrates that talent for unexpected spectacle. In possession of the rare gift of Gano—the voice that can deadpan charm or unleash the ravings of a madman—he uses the spectrum to unleash frenetic, whiskey-lit Americana punk (“Take My Side,” “Son of God”), a tempered and true love song (“Sing to Me”), and artfully arranged dance-rock deconstructions (“Anna,” “Something’s Coming”). In a lengthy letter of intent announcing the record, Butler called out a number of influences on Policy (Violent Femmes, included), but at the end of his debut’s eight tracks, there’s a startling revelation: I like this music best, baby.