Music Review: Will Butler’s solo album shows a deceptively deft fire

It’s next to impossible to evaluate Will Butler’s solo debut, Policy, on its own merits. The stadium-sized behemoth incarnate in the room is Arcade Fire, the band in which he plays an ancillary role as a keyboardist/synth player and occasional drummer, overshadowed by the husband/wife duo of his older brother Win and Régine Chassagne. Yet Policy reveals the younger Butler to be something of the act’s secret weapon throughout his solo debut. Similar to the manner in which Mike Mills proved indispensable to R.E.M. due to his sheer versatility, Butler astounds in the breadth of his instrumental and songwriting dexterity.

The ebullience of “Anna” is evocative sleazy, barroom Stones, all honky-tonk piano, brass skronk, and deep groove, its detachedness conflating the grime of ’70s Taxi Driver-esque NYC street crime with ’10s Wall Street hucksters (“Hey little Anna / What’s gonna be the …

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