Butch Walker


From reading a few recent and fevered posts on an online music discussion board, I’d concluded Butch Walker’s Letters must be the second coming. Wrong. Power-pop fans do tend to go a little overboard with their obsessions. Nevertheless, Walker, a veteran of such bands as SouthGang and Marvelous 3, has come up with a winsome—but more than occasionally excessive and self-indulgent—pop disc here. When it rocks (i.e., “Uncomfortably Numb” and “Lights Out”), there’s a certain Queen-meets-Cheap Trick charm. And “Mixtape” is glorious pop overkill (and its creepy video, featuring Walker stalking an ex, is included). But the rest—with the studio wankery, and too many Los Angeles references in the lyrics, and the lick-my-love-pump ballads—is like listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” while huffing petroleum ether.