Release Date: Aug 29, 2011
Record label: Dangerbird Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
For once, it seems, Butch Walker is standing still. This, in and of itself, is a remarkable accomplishment. Since the dissolution of his early hair-metal band SouthGang and his vastly under-appreciated pop-rock group The Marvelous 3, Butch Walker has been taking one of the most unusual approaches toward working in the music industry. When not producing hits for the likes of Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Weezer, or even Panic! At the Disco, Walker is releasing his own albums.
Ten years into his solo career, Butch Walker has given himself more makeovers than the girls who attend his concerts, dressing up his pop songs in glam rock clothing one minute and dusty Americana threads the next. On Spade, he explores the seedy side of Hollywood with equal parts power pop and heartland rock & roll. Walker has walked that line before; “The Weight of Her,” the kick-off track from 2008’s Sycamore Meadows, isn’t too far removed from these guitar-driven epics.
Loosely focused on reliving some of the rowdier days of his youth, Butch Walker drenches The Spade in nostalgia. But rather than coming up with a self-serious meditation on approaching middle age, Walker brings a reckless, freewheeling tone to the album, making each tale of a bar fight, casual hookup, or one who got away sound more like a summertime radio anthem than a wistful reminiscence. “Bodegas and Blood” kicks off the album with some crunchy, distorted electric guitar riffs and a sing-along melody, as Walker gives voice to a cast of unfortunates who came of age in the mid ‘80s.
Butch Walker has worn any number of hats in his near decade-long solo career. One of the more remarkable aspects of his musical shape shifting is that these style changes occur naturally and without pretense. Instead of chasing the next big sound, Walker instead flips the calendar back years (if not decades) and uses the past for inspiration. Having dabbled in arena rock, singer/songwriter fare, glam rock and alt-country up until now, Walker has yet again shed his musical skin on his sixth solo full-length.