CD Review: Gotye – Making Mirrors

Gotye - Making Mirrors
Over the last few months Gotye has become a kind of collectively known global musician. I hesitate to say star. This has prompted many to wonder: how do I pronounce that? For those unfamiliar, Gotye is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist musician operating under the indie-rock banner. Gotye’s Making Mirrors LP was released on February 13th, 2012 on the Universal Records label.

A Belgian born Australian, Gotye, real name: Wouter “Wally” De Backer, has been a pop star in his native Australia for a number of years. Indeed, this is his third solo studio album (he is also one third of, the Melbourne based indie act, The Basics). However, Making Mirrors is the first Gotye LP that the world has really taken notice of. This is due in part to the hit Somebody That I Used To Know which is off the album. The song was a global hit, attaining number one status in various charts around the world. The song also gained in popularity due to a cover version that went viral. Yes, that video where five people play one guitar at the same time. In case, you haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t, check it out), Canadian indie rock band Walk off the Earth decided to do a cover version. They uploaded their version of the song to YouTube in January of this year and the response was phenomenal.

In the cover, all five band members play the guitar simultaneously. The cover has been such a hit that they have even performed the song live on the Ellen show. At present, the Walk off the Earth version has been viewed over 89 million times on YouTube. Despite the fact that Gotye is in danger of ‘losing’ his song, you have to feel that, ironically, Gotye would probably approve.

Gotye is known for being, shall we say, experimental? Making Mirrors is little different, so if you’re hoping for an album full of anguished Somebody That I Used To Know-esque melodies, think again. Indeed, the LP has not fared as well as a whole as the Somebody That I Used To Know single. Unsurprisingly, the LP was a number one hit in Australia. Occupying the top spot for eight weeks. Response elsewhere in the world has been lukewarm, with the album gaining only top 20 status in the influential UK charts. Unfortunately, I found the album to be more top 20 material than number one material. The LP seems to venture from one influence to the next and is rather hit and miss as a result. Of course, for hardcore Gotye fans, the experimentation will be nothing new and will even be welcomed in some quarters. However, with most of the world only waking up to Gotye as a result of Somebody That I Used To Know it is important to note this album has a wide variety of influences and styles. Gotye seems to be heavily intrigued by the tools and instruments at his disposal. He has talent, as Somebody That I Used To Know demonstrates, but a little more concentration on a core sound would certainly help him. The best songs on the album are, in no particular order, Somebody That I Used To Know, Eyes Wide Open, In Your Light and I Feel Better. Outside of that, the album is decidedly a miss for me.