Record Bulletin, 3/13: Arcade Fire and Will Butler

Reflektions on Reflektor

Hopefully whenever Arcade Fire regroups they take a hint from Will Butler’s short solo album: more fun is more better. Sometimes I wonder if I would recant my Reflektor endorsement; not a bad album, but by far their worst, and for a band with such a spotless record it’s a little more than disappointing.

her ost arcade fireARCADE FIRE – Her OST (purloined download ’13): Atmospheric earworms that settle the wrong way, this is Win Butler’s sort-of score for Spike Jonez’s masterful tale of love in the digital age. Maybe the narrative was too compelling for any of this music to make a dent, because for the life of me I remember none of it, but even on its own it rarely amounts to much, peaks with the alternate Reflektor take “Supersymmetry,” which we’ll just say wasn’t one of my favorites from AF’s last. B PLUS (*)

Will-Butler-Policy-608x608WILL BUTLER – Policy (Merge): The brother of one-half the brains of Arcade Fire decides to step out with a solo debut. Unsurprisingly, he sounds vocally similar to Win though more subdued, as do these 28 minutes sound like a set of sedated AF outtakes—which I swear is not a put-down—but I doubt artists take breaks from their regular gigs to be told they sound like a lesser version of their whole, especially since his lyrical material carries over and expands upon the unease with religion (and by religion I mean Christianity) from Neon Bible. But Will’s a funny guy: he swears he’d be good, as we all would if faced with the certainty of eternal damnation otherwise, if only God’s son came down from heaven and give us his John Hancock for authenticity. But He doesn’t, so Will won’t. B PLUS (***)


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