Following that, Butler has taken his off time from Arcade Fire's three-year album cycle to release a solo record. That album, Policy, comprises eight tracks that boldly explore a number of sonic avenues from rockabilly and punk to synth-pop and even piano balladry. Admittedly, it's as scattershot as it sounds, but that doesn't mean that Butler doesn't find his footing in a few of these areas. The driving guitars on "What I Want" make it a thrilling number that incorporates head-scratching lyrics about eating "pony macaroni," while the Talking Heads-style synth track "Anna" is a highlight that begs for Butler to hopefully explore an entire album of slick pop melodies in the future.
Unlike other solo efforts made from loosely within the Arcade Fire family (Owen Pallett, Bell Orchestre, Sarah Neufeld), it's undoubtedly tough at first to distinguish Policy from the Montreal band's discography. This is attributable, in part, to Butler's voice being similar to his brother's, but also to the fact that some of the tracks here bear significant resemblance to songs on 2007's Neon Bible ("Son of God") or 2013's Reflektor ("Something's Coming"). It may take Butler a few more albums (he has promised in interviews to continue writing and recording as a solo artist for years to come) to carve out his own identity from the monolithic entity he's a part of, but there are plenty of plausible ideas on Policy for Butler to continue exploring. (Merge)