JOHN BUTLER TRIO
[Rating: 3 stars]
Despite achieving well-deserved recognition in his homeland, Aussie rocker John Butler has yet to be fully recognized here in the U.S. April Uprising, Butler’s fifth full album and first with drummer Nicky Bombo and bassist Byron Luiters, finds Butler pushing past his light-hearted, funk reggae style he’s so known for. Aside from the moody “Revolution,” the music on April Uprising continues in the joyous style we expect; however, the catch here is in the lyrics. Dark and surprisingly introspective, Butler’s sleeve is shown, his heart heavy; the album has themes ranging from love and heartbreak to ambition and disappointment, both in himself and others.
The new additions to the band have resulted in some fun-heavy tracks, most glaringly obvious on the album’s first single, “One Way Road,” where we find Luiters’ bass turned way up and Butler’s signature halting delivery almost joyous. The trend continues further down the track list with “I’d Do Anything” and the surprisingly gorgeous “A Star Is Born,” written by Butler for his son.
It’s unusual for a full album to leave the listener confused; and while April Uprising may not be Butler’s definitive album, it does showcase a newfound maturity for an artist that might just be finally finding his stride.