Will Butler - Policy
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2015 Rank: #436 / 741
User Score
Based on 97 ratings
March 10, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Merge / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

83
A.V. Club

This is a terrific opening volley from a musician seemingly just beginning to tap an overflowing surfeit of songwriting riches.

80
DIY
For such a short album, ‘Policy’ covers a hell of a lot of ground. Every song has its own character, with each one further clarifying Will as a great musician and songwriter in his own right, as though there were any doubts.
80
Spin
This is the birth of Will Butler, solo artist, whose career seems just as woozily unpredictable and captivating as that of his "day job."
80
The Guardian

Eight songs, recorded inside three weeks, which raucously freewheel across the genres.

75
Pretty Much Amazing

Policy exhibits relatively little orchestral grandeur, but rather finds joy in its simplicity – alternating between loose instrumentation and tight rhythmic grooves with occasional embellishment from horns or a backing choir.

75
Under The Radar
Butler draws on rustic instrumentation and blustery hooks to provide zip to an album oozing gusto and a good old-fashioned sense of song.
73
Paste

When Butler isn’t taking cues from the music he grew up with, he’s more prone to wander around in just-nice-enough piano balladry. But when he is, he ends up with something which seems to bear his own identity more than it could otherwise.

70
NME
‘Policy’ is a gloriously unhinged sprawl of a record, but fittingly for the man who constructed sparse piano tech-paeans for the soundtrack to Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, the downbeat moments resonate, too.
70
The Line of Best Fit

Policy is a record which freewheels through a number of genres but manages to avoid sounding like a collection of songs that we deemed not good enough for Arcade Fire.

70
Slant Magazine

Considering the songwriting chops Butler flashes on his solo debut, Policy, there's no logical explanation as to why he's never gotten to sing a single song with Arcade Fire—aside from Win's ego, that is.

70
The 405
He never carves out a distinctive sound for himself, opting instead to show off the breadth of his musical abilities--it's impressive, yes, but noncommittal.
70
musicOMH

This is a record made with a heavy DIY ethic that is about as erratic as you’d expect from Butler.

66
Pitchfork
This determinedly off-the-cuff album is nostalgic in sound, but endearingly off-kilter in spirit.
60
Exclaim!

It may take Butler a few more albums ... 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.

60
AllMusic

For an album that clocks in at just under 28 minutes, Policy manages to drop a ton of ideas, but if often feels more like a purge than a mission statement.

60
PopMatters

There’s good music here regardless of who made it or where it derives from, and for an Arcade Fire fan, it’s certainly a treat.

60
Rolling Stone

Policy is also more playful, a montage of impulses — crunchy rock, apocalyptic electro-disco, solo-John Lennon balladry — that come like whiplash.

60
Clash

Although there's nothing exactly groundbreaking here, 'Policy' packs plenty of personality and attitude – fusing sounds from Butler's melting pot of influences, with his own eccentric style and charm.

58
Consequence of Sound

Policy may just be too slight to be successful, forcing its shortcomings to be amplified even if there are, in fact, many things to enjoy about this record.

Apr 8, 2016
KevinPasos
66
Essential Tracks - Take My Side // Witness
Jun 23, 2015
lemuriams
48
Dissapoint
Mar 8, 2015
lerkenfeldt
45
Can't see the point of this.
Mar 2, 2015
SiberianBreaks
53
It's nothing really special and just plays itself too safely. The songs themselves were pretty bland and nothing really stood out too much that caused me to go back to it. However, I do feel that he can make something solid if he stepped up his songwriting. His voice is pretty fun to listen to and the instrumentation was decent.

Favourite tracks: Take My Side, What I Want


Added on: November 20, 2014