What You Want EP – John Butler Trio
It’s a rare pleasure to be introduced to an unknown artist and immediately become so engulfed by the music that I eagerly anticipate each succeeding track. That’s what happened the first time I heard the John Butler Trio’s EP What You Want.
Several points of reference came to mind while listening. Originally, Butler’s voice reminded me of Brandon Boyd and his band Incubus. But while that band mixes acoustic numbers with electric ones, Butler concentrates on an acoustic guitar, which gives the tunes their own particular flavor.
The title track’s string arrangement and epic grandeur has much in common with Jeff Buckley and his debut album, Grace.
The following track, "Something’s Gotta Give," changes gears, providing a gospel/funk/reggae feel heard from Ben Harper. That musical association is reinforced in differing ways on "Treat Yo Mama" and "Pickapart."
He even presents a reverent yet distinctive cover of The Beatles’ "Across the Universe."
But the final result doesn’t convey a lazy method of mimicry. Instead, the John Butler Trio create a musical universe that’s not only inhabited by its melodic and rhythmic tendencies but also smoothly moves along from song to song. A full-length album is due from the band in the spring of 2005. What You Want does its job by whetting your appetite for more.