Will Butler – Policy (Merge Records; 2015)
Will Butler’s solo debut is as eclectic and fueled with unbridled energy as Butler himself. Sonically, Policy is all over the map. It crosses borders into garage-rock, with early-Beatles-esque guitar licks on tracks like “Take My Side” and “What I Want,” then picks up more subtle Southern sounds on the catchy little ditty, “Son Of God,” complete with a chorus of gospel singers. There is an evidently ardent love for the keyboard and all things piano throughout the album. It showcases the Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist’s undeniable talent, as he goes back and forth between sweetly sad piano ballads like “Sing To Me,” playfully sinister cabaret-style sounds on “Something’s Coming,” and retro-infused keyboard playing on the record’s most infectious single, “Anna.” In many ways, Policy is dripping with Arcade Fire inspired moments, but Butler manages to set himself apart from his band and establish himself as a solo artist on this genre-melting debut album.
Trial Track: “Anna”