There’s been a buzz building about this bloke as a genuine, unaffected singer-songwriter. He put on a great showcase at Bigsound in Brisbane recently and he has just released his debut album, produced by Anthony Lycenko in Byron Bay.

At first you might be tempted to drop him into the inane but inoffensive surf/roots acoustic compartment. But if you pay any attention at all you’ll quickly notice there’s more going on here than that. Sure Butcher’s voice is smooth and beguiling, but there’s a genuine intensity to it and signs of an agile mind feeding it. And as you get past the predominantly acoustic opener ‘Pipe Song’, you discover that Butcher is also musically agile, ‘Speed Of Sound’ delivering a portentous energy driven by an incessant bass line and shards of angular electric guitar.

It also becomes quickly apparent that Butcher has plenty to say. A quick examination of the album’s lyric sheet backs that up; it presents a small novel of vignettes, most of them focused on themes of day-to-day life. Only rarely does Butcher lapse into the awkward or clichéd, like in ‘Sweet Sweet Friend’ where the “she flows like the sea” sea and tide simile is stretched too far, or in ‘Conversations’, which recycles some overworn musical and lyrical motifs.

By Martin Jones