ALBUM REVIEW: Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” contains pleasant, diverse surprises
Australian alternative artist Gotye (real name Wally De Backer) has been making music in his native country since 2003. However, most Americans have only been recently introduced to him through the surprise hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” sung alongside New Zealand singer Kimbra.
As part of Gotye’s third studio album “Making Mirrors,” “Somebody” joins a collection of songs that make for a good introduction to the artist and bring hope for his future success in the United States.
The single “Somebody That I Used To Know,” leaves the impression that the album would be filled with similarly minimalist, subdued compositions. While songs like the titular album opener “Making Mirrors” and “Don’t Worry, We’ll Be Watching You” might fit this bill, the meat of the album shows a surprising amount of diversity.
“Easy Way Out” and “Eyes Wide Open” both feel more like traditional indie rock, and when they sandwich the simple but powerful “Somebody That I Used To Know,” the three songs seem to stand together as a unique narrative to the contrasting moods of anger and calm following the end of a relationship.
Meanwhile, Gotye also dips his toes into jazz with “Smoke and Mirrors,” late ‘80s Peter Gabriel influence with “In Your Light” and even Motown with “I Feel Better.”
The easy transition between each of these styles is the highlight of “Making Mirrors.” Not content with faltering into stagnation, Gotye’s experimenting with various styles seems to make certain a listener will find at least one song to catch their fancy.
The end half of the album seems considerably weaker after listening to such a strong first part. While songs like “Giving Me A Chance” and “Bronte” are ear-pleasing and fit a rainy-day mood, there’s not much to them that makes them memorable.
The album’s latter half also includes an example of just how far Gotye is willing to experiment in “State Of The Art.” The highly manipulated vocals and oddball lyrics make it hard to describe the song as anything other than “plain, old weird.” At over five minutes, it overstays its welcome. Its black sheep status, however, calls for at least one listen for anyone buying the album.
Five years ago, a song like “Somebody That I Used To Know” wouldn’t have made it into American music’s top 40, let alone reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. That feat alone is enough to make one hope Gotye’s versatility can keep him from becoming a one-hit wonder.
Whether his next hit is one of this album’s more commercially appealing tracks (“Eyes Wide Open” and “I Feel Better” seem to be the best candidates) or will await listeners on his next album, Gotye deserves his newfound attention, and “Making Mirrors” lives up to the hit single it has produced.
Album: “Making Mirrors”
Rating: 4 out of 5
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