John Butler Trio: Flesh & Blood
Despite discovering that he’s the descendant of political revolutionaries, John Butler sang about personal progress instead of social insurrection on 2010’s April Uprising. On Flesh & Blood, he looks inward again, but mainly focuses on the interaction of the self with others. Using his fusion of rock, blues, folk, reggae and hip-hop, Butler’s characters search for (and sometimes find) bliss, whether it’s through a relationship on the ebullient “Only One” or thoughts of a lost relative in the dreamy “Wings Are Wide.” Even the negativity found on the simmering “Bullet Girl” and bright-sounding yet lyrically-dark “Devil Woman” is preferable to fill the void of being a lonely cog in the machine (the gritty “Livin’ in the City”). Although his sixth album doesn’t break new ground, Butler’s established musical template remains vibrant and sets up another round of tales worth hearing.