Gotta get some Gotye
MAKING Mirrors ’ beauty hides in plain sight.
ARIA award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gotye delivers a rich, detailed, exquisitely textured third album that is heavy with hooks and layered with intricate musical trickery.
In the past he has leaned heavily on samples to create his albums, but there’s a new approach happening here.
As well as op-shop vinyl samples, he’s recorded more acoustic elements than before. This gives the songs an entirely new character and feel. He works the sounds in his unique way. Instead of strumming an autoharp slowly, he painstakingly recorded every possible note into his laptop, mapped the sounds to a midi keyboard and played the harp sounds at a speed not normally possible.
Techniques like this make Gotye stand out from the pack. But don’t get the wrong idea, the result is not weird or inaccessible.
He’s a talented alt-pop songwriter. Throughout Making Mirrors, elements of old school R& B and retro psychedelic rock also bleed into his music.
It would be impossible to talk about this album without mentioning the beautiful, genre-less, chart-smashing single Somebody That I Used to Know, a duet with up-and-comer Kimbra.
It’s got stunning emotional punch, is easy to relate to, has universal appeal and feels hopeful – all in all a cracking tune.
Easy Way Out rides the wave of a fuzzy bassline and a straight-faced guitar riff. Gotye’s calm and varied vocal delivery is impressive.
A dusty horn line opens I Feel Better, which is a perky, uplifting pop song. The organs in its back end are subtle but essential to the song’s success.
There are yet more horns on State Of The Art, this time swaggering like a scene from a Playboy mansion documentary. Gotye twists up his voice in a futuristic robotic style for this ode to his favourite organ, which was a present from his folks.
There’s crunchy, swinging beats, a cool walking bass and a restrained spoken vocal on Don’t Worry We’ll Be Watching – ‘‘ Don’t worry, just do what we say’’. No idea what he’s singing about, but it sounds ominous.
Thankfully the mood lifts again with the closing trio, Giving Me a Chance, Save Me and Bronte.
Gotye has proven himself a confident, accomplished, inventive songwriter. The sky is the limit for what he could achieve.
GOTYE Making Mirrors
★ ★ ★ ★