Gotye – A Peter Gabriel for the 21st century…and much more

Gotye’s video for Somebody That I Used to Know has received 264 million views on YouTube till date and that’s how I was first introduced to his music. For the first couple of minutes as I watched the video, I was focusing entirely on the visuals, but as the song reached its crescendo in the second half, it became clear that this video was getting views as much for the quality of the music as for the visuals.

So, after listening to this song in the car for nearly a month and now having the wife and kids hooked onto it as well, I figured it was time to check out the rest of the album, Making Mirrors.

The first thing that struck me was his unselfconscious vocal style, which takes unexpected but enjoyable twists and turns…sometimes soaring, sometimes diving, but always in tune.

I also loved the juxtaposition of rhythms and percussion, and the electronics gives many of the tracks a certain ‘dance hall energy’ while holding forth the promise of greater depth to be discovered over repeat listening sessions.

It’s tough to bracket the music into a single style. The opening riff from State of the Art could’ve come from a Bob Marley song. But then, songs like Smoke and Mirrors and Bronte sound like they could have come from a Peter Gabriel album (particularly 1986’s So) blended with elements of Kate Bush’s musical style from her 2005 Aerial double album.

Hopefully the 32 year old Belgian-born Australian (real name Wally De Backer) has not yet hit his peak and there will be lots more to look forward to in years to come.

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