GOTYE: MAKING MIRRORS

 

The Nicest Man in Music, Wally De Backer- via his stage nom de plume Gotye- has released Making Mirrors, his third full-length record and, possibly, his best. I’m not trying to ‘blow smoke’, but Gotye is of a small ilk of artists that seem to produce consistently admirable and experimental work. But onto the work in question.

Making Mirrors opens with the short and sweet title track: a smoky, psychedelic high. A one minute slice of luminosity. Easy Way Out barrels on after, a symphony of spiky rock guitar and vaguely nineties drive: “Brain-dead from boredom, I’m led to distraction…”

 

 

Massive single Somebody That I Used to Know has the drip-drop xylophone sound prevalent in De Backer’s work and thusly is somewhat like Like Drawing Blood‘s stunner Hearts A Mess (2006). The song has sky-rocketed the names of both Gotye and co-vocalist Kimbra to freakish heights; its slithery strings and big vocal chorus make it great for sing-alongs and concerts (another common trait of …Know and Hearts A Mess; I have a great memory of a Gotye crowd attempting to sing along to the swelling “But you’re desperate to connect…” from …Mess’ chorus at a laneway festival, what a spectacle). Kimbra’s voice oscillates between fierce and sweetly airy and one can see why her star is quickly on the rise.

Despite the huge “comeback” press that …Know has raked in, Eyes Wide Open was the album’s first single. It has an arms-raised sort of euphoric, devil-may-care vibe, one of sunny yet bittersweet, driving pop. De Backer also utilized a “musical fence” in Winton, Queensland as the song’s bass line, a dynamite idea in itself.

 

 

Smoke and Mirrors has a jazzy opening; shuddering and echoic and the “Are you watching?” refrain gives me chills.  Several types of drums all relay for your attention then quickly disappear in a shudder to make way for I Feel Better; a number more like Learnalilgivinanlovin- a cheery, horn-filled, vaguely Motown ditty, like Hall and Oates meeting The Four Tops.

In Your Light has a sort of Faith-sounding guitar intro, added to by handclaps and chimes- what a joy. It’s pure pop bliss via Gotye’s musical pastiche style. Horns come and go, keys say hello and then we’re onto State of the Art and its bizarre voice modulation. It’s more like something you might have found on the experimental Boardface (2003) and also has a genius animated clip to accompany it.

Sound effects and samples are littered throughout the record, gladly; though this is something that is lessening as his career powers on, it is nice to see De Backer has not lost his eye for the quirky, the funky, the interesting.

 

 

Though Don’t Worry, We’ll Be Watching You and Giving Me A Chance- despite the latter’s ambient pop sway- fail to move me, Save Me reels me back in as a more traditional, pretty number. I hear tell this is to be the man’s next single, keep all peepers peeled.  The album ends on the cold and wispy Bronte, a track rich with lush tones and earthy, sparse drums.

De Backer manages to squeeze a superhuman amount of beauty and lustre into a mere twelve tracks and the result is Making Mirrors; a gorgeous, fun album. Just buy the rekkid and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll probably be etching “W.D.B 4 LYF 4 EVA” on your pencil tin soon enough.

 

 

Words: Lisa Dib

Tags: album review, australia, gotye, indie pop, kimbra, melbourne, music, the basics, triple j, wally de backer

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