King’s College seems an odd venue for Australian singer-songwriter Gotye (real name Walter De Backer), whose particular blend of dreamy electro pop seems a far better fit for halls like St Stephen’s Church, where he played last night. Perhaps it’s to avoid being pigeon holed, which his new LP, ‘Making Mirrors’, certainly seems at pains to do. As with the album, tonight’s gig is fairly eclectic – one minute we’re in the company of Stevie Wonder and the Motown horn section for ‘I Feel Better’, the next we’re cresting the ethereal waves of ‘Hearts a Mess’, a slow-burning song more akin to the soundscapes of Norwegian musician Magnet. Gotye certainly embraces experimentation, what with his heavy focus on sampling bizarre musical instruments, such as the Winton Musical Fence (an inconceivable instrument comprised of five large metal strings attached to wooden fence posts and a resonant chamber), and his set is packed with musical ingenuity throughout. Whether it be the inventive steel drum sampling that accompanies ‘Bronte’, or the unselfconscious moments where De Backer lets his vocal dexterity meander over the haunting brilliance of single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, if you like your technical brilliance mixed with some sugary, heartfelt vocals, you need Gotye in your life.
By Helena Goodwyn
Originally published in issue 33 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. November 2011.