On his debut solo release, Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler fashions himself a Renaissance man. Opener Take My Side is a banging, jangly ode to early Lou Reed, and then Butler changes course for the quirky, introspective 80s electronic stomp of Anna.
Throughout the 27-minute effort, an unhinged Butler takes his all-encompassing vision in any direction he pleases. He doesn’t stand idle for a second, giving the album an intense immediacy. Even acoustic track Son Of God quickly explodes into the “whoa-oh” territory Arcade Fire have claimed as their own for the last 10 years. On Bowie-influenced stunner What I Want, the chorus of backup singers works in Butler’s favour, but it’s when he moves away from that crutch that his depth as a songwriter comes through. (Plus, he shares that he’s got a great recipe for “pony macaroni,” so there’s that.)
The grand aesthetic that makes Arcade Fire such a force is on full display. But compared to last year’s plodding AF album, Reflektor, Butler gets to the point so much quicker.
Top track: What I Want