Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist, and (usually) unseen brother of front-man, Win, Will Butler released Policy earlier this March. Supposedly recorded in a two week span at New York’s Electric Studio, Policy is a pleasant surprise from a man who has been backing one of the globe’s top Indie bands.
“Where’s the fire/ Let it burn,” Butler sings on opening track “Take My Side.” Upbeat and loaded with catchy guitar, it is clear Butler is influenced by an American-rock sound, as the other tracks follow suit. “Anna” is a gritty, head-bobbing track complete with an impressive saxophone and piano composition as Butler’s manic vocals lay on top. Sounding most similar to Arcade Fire tracks off of Funeral and Neon Bible “Anna” is electro-pop unafraid to emote. The energy continues on as “Son Of God” boasts a catchy chorus and scratchy guitar as Butler sings for salvation. Closing track, “Witness” is pop-rock exemplified. Complete with bouncing melodies, backing female vocals and frantic piano, Butler sings about fearing to testify in court and creates a sound straight out of a rock opera.
At only 8 tracks long, it feels silly for Butler to slow the energy. Forgettable and mellow, “Finish What I Started” slices right through the upbeat vibe and “Sing to Me” is a short crooning track wherein Butler sings a moody plea to listen in as he explains he is “tired like he’s never been before.” These tracks are perhaps more lyrically dense and impenetrable, but lack in much else.
Although it may seem difficult to separate Will Butler from the acclaim Arcade Fire has accrued over the last 20 years, Policy is its own–experimental, unglued and jumbled in the most charming and appeasing way.