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Album Review: Will Butler – Policy

Many people will recognize the name Will Butler from the popular and successful Canadian rock outfit, Arcade Fire. Policy is Butler’s first departure from his role as a multi-instrumentalist in the indie rock group. 

The first track on the album, “Take My Side,” leads the album off with a burst of energy with traditional rock instrumentation that sounds like something that could have appeared on The Fratellis’ Costello Music (2006). However, Policy is constantly at odds with catchy high-energy pop songs and slower ballads, which matches his volatile personality in Arcade Fire. 

The tracks “Son of God” and “Witness” are doo-wop worship pop songs with catchy hooks that are reminiscent of a song you swear you’ve heard before. “Anna” and “Something’s Coming” explore more modern and experimental sounds, with the latter reminiscent of an avant-garde interpretation of a Stevie Wonder classic. “Finished What I Started” and “Sing to Me” are slow and simple piano ballads sandwiched between runaway tracks that give this album a disjointed feel, much like Foxygen’s Take the Kids Off Broadway (2012), not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. 

The most refreshing part of this album is Butler’s lyricism, which he uses to satirically cover topics ranging from God, to love, to cooking “pony macaroni” in “What I Want.”  Even though the songs are all over the place and not particularly innovative or groundbreaking, Policy is a solid debut album and I’m interested in hearing Butler discover his own sound down the road. 

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