Metalhead or mushy balladeer? Butch Walker is everything and then some but his latest disk is really more Avril than AC/DC — though that is not entirely a bad thing. Actually I should say it is a great thing and to compare him to Avril is really unfair, he's everything Avril since he is the producer behind some of her hits but he's also much, much more as his own person.
When listening to "Letters" I have this weird feeling that he has been around the block a few times. Even his album has this strange big city vibe that I can't describe. You can almost feel the hustle and bustle of New York or Los Angeles although I have no idea if the album was recorded anywhere near a big city.
The truth is though, this is a soundtrack that will fit many lives and locations — where Butch Walker is the hustle and his music is the bustle — always there in your ears, his voice is breakfast and his lyrics are the easy reading that you skim while waiting for the bus or drinking your morning coffee on a cool summer morning in the Big Apple.
Laying quietly below the surface of this stranger you have never met and probably never will, you have many layers of personality, mood, history, sex, drugs and always enjoyable rock and roll. On "Letters" Butch Walker is a true artist painting a vivid cityscape for his listener that you can hook up to your stereo. It is an interesting experience.
When I first heard this disk it was hard for me to get into the tunes but after about 5 times through it began getting under my skin. The songs are not instantly lovable but they are very listenable. That is the trick because once they get under your skin you will start to reveal the depth of these songs and then you won't be able to get them out of your head. This disk actually became more listenable and enjoyable as the layers were revealed. Like I mentioned before they almost paint a picture for me through the mood, the production, the layers, the arrangement and the raw but solid singing of B.W. It's something that I can't describe.