Music Review of Will Butler’s Album “Policy”

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By Cheyenne Heaslet
Music Reviewer

Artist: Will Butler
Album: Policy
Label: Merge
Release Date: March 2, 2015


Will Butler's Album "Policy"
Will Butler’s Album “Policy” Photo Courtesy of

Will Butler, a multi-instrumentalist belonging to Quebec superstars, Arcade Fire, has musical tendencies of his own to establish.  Butler’s debut album, “Policy”,  attempts to separate itself from the crowded auxiliary section of his breadwinning act in Arcade Fire by expanding his musical reach.

Musically, the album hits all the right points. The openers, “Take My Side”, and “Anna” establish the tone of the album with loud, glassy guitars, and tight synth melodies. Butler’s influence on “Policy” is all over the place but his ambition to cover all bases rarely distracts. The exception being “Finish what I Started” and “Sing to Me,” two forgettable piano pieces that slow the pace of the otherwise driving album. Butler is most effective with all engines firing, as evidence in “What I Want,” a sprawling synth rock track sporting a chorus that could have easily been  on Arcade Fire’s “Reflector.” Vocals sound as most listeners would imagine when Win Butler (lead singer of Arcade Fire) is your older brother, but tracks such as “Son of God” establish a unique and convincing voice. Butler doesn’t make any real impact lyrically. “Take My Side” being a standout track, has him admitting early, “I’m having problems with my words” (followed by something about beating up birds). The ballad, “Finish what I Started” does little to solidly portray the voice behind them. The album, however, is done well enough that any missteps are easily forgiven.

Policy” is Will Butler’s step forward from Arcade Fire’s pool of characters. Offering only eight tracks, the album gives itself little room for mistakes, and while some are better than others, no song truly disappoints. The synth pop of “Anna” will be stuck in your head for days, while the 70’s rock tinged, “Son of God” is your perfect sunny day car ride jam. Will Butler’s “Policy,” while flawed, is a confident and strong introduction.

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