Will Butler – Policy
Multi-instrumentalist Will Butler’s day job is, of course, supporting his brother Win in Arcade Fire. As a solo artist, his output seems to skew towards a version of the sound his band has fallen into on the last couple of albums: part wide-scope, stomping rock ‘n’ roll, part nostalgia for the recession-plagued, synth-haunted days of the early 1980s. “Take My Side” and “What I Want” both show off his skill in crafting rootsy but slick guitar pop, while “Anna” and “Something’s Coming” bely a love of the dark, minor melodies of Gowan and Berlin. As someone who’s been obsessed with “Metro” of late, I find his efforts with the synthesizer to be much more satisfying; the more straight-forward rock and roll work comes off as a lesser version of the work his day band has perfected. “Finish What I Started” reveals a third side to Butler – that of a sad-eyed piano crooner – that trumps both the rock ‘n’ roll and the New Wave parts of Policy. On stage with Arcade Fire, Will Butler comes off as endlessly energetic, an inventive ‘fill-in-the-holes’ type, and a key supporter of main duo Win & Regine. “Finish What I Started” (and, to a lesser extent, “Sing To Me”) show a much different, more somber side to the man.
Policy shows off a deeper set of skills than Butler has displayed heretofore, but for all of that it still presents itself as a definite side-project – nothing world-shaking, just something to fill time and stake a name between monolithic Arcade Fire albums.