Will Butler – Policy // Community Review


Will ButlerPolicy //

You may already know him as a founding member of Arcade Fire, the multi-instrumentalist that runs around the stage with the energy and passion of a hype man — oh and he’s Win Butler’s little brother.

Will Butler has now stepped into world of solo artistry with his debut, Policy.


This is not an Arcade Fire album, though we hear Will’s characteristic sound infused throughout. One aspect that sets this album apart from his “bread and butter” act is the overwhelming eclecticism that is pervasive throughout Policy. What’s so refreshing is the deep passion that the younger Butler brother pours into this rock record that is equal parts shiny-pop and equal parts scrappy-indie all in the same breath. Sure, sometimes I feel like there’s a little less focus (see: thematic nature of Arcade Fire) being honed in here, but this allows each track to be its own island. -Kevin Quandt
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: “Take My Side”

There are some bright spots, but this album would’ve gotten far less attention were it not for a certain dose of nepotism. It’s an enjoyable listen, but the album feels light and doesn’t venture far under the surface of what you hear upon its first listen. Butler should stick with his brother where the end product reaches much more deeply into our emotions. -Steven Wandrey
2 BAMS // Top Song: “Anna”

Each track off of Will Butler’s eight-track album carries a different sound all on its own, which is difficult to pull off while still being coherent. From pseudo-punk on “Take My Side” to an 80’s vibe on “Ana” and doo-whoop hooks on “Witness,” Policy flows articulately from beginning to end. The album is laced with witty lyrics, including “Please don’t cry / Your crying it ain’t gonna help” (“Take My Side”), “Hey little Ana you’re the one / Rising before the lazy sun” (“Ana”) and “I will buy you a pony / We can cook it for supper / I know a great recipe for pony macaroni” (“What I Want”). The overall tempo ebbs and flows serenely also, starting off with a upbeat tempos, dipping a little bit into a melancholy state on “Finish What I Started,” as it cruises back up to its upbeat nature before getting lifted up after the super-slow-tempo “Sing to Me” to end with a feel good vibe on “Witness.” -Nikki DeMartini
4 BAMS // Top Song: “What I Want”

If his album Policy is any indication, Will Butler is a tightly-wound guy, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. This tone serves as both a strength and his biggest weakness — there is a clear apathy around creating a through line, which overall gives Policy a disjointed feel. This collection offers a rockabilly, wonky romp that exudes shades of Arcade Fire elements, including Butler’s vocal style and what sounds like Régine Chassagne supporting with her angelic layers of singing. About half the tracks are rather transcendent, including “Anna,” “Son of God” and “Witness,” but much of the brief long player is incohesive and messy, including the aimless “Finish What I Started.” Still, the gems are worth savoring. -Mike Frash
3 BAMS // Top Song: “Anna”


What do you think of Will Butler’s Policy? Keep the conversation going below with your quick review or comment! If we like your reply, we’ll hook you up with a free pair of tickets to your choice of show this week in San Francisco.

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  1. allison wonderland says:

    this album reminds me of how I’ve felt when I’ve met Will in person – friendly, great to talk to, but a little shy without the rest of the band behind him. I commend Will for trying to come out into his own but this album falls short for me.

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