Smoke and Mirrors
3 Out Of 5 Stars
The American breakout of Gotye is an interesting if slight work. The freaky breakthrough of "Somebody That I Used To Know" knocked top 40 world on a loop. Here was a song that didn't have auto-tune, manufactured beats, and you sure couldn't dance to it. (In fact, some radio stations took to adding drum tracks to try and force fit the song that was too popular to deny into the narrow confines of their station's sound.) The man had a voice that fell somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. By all accounts, "Making Mirrors" shouldn't be a hot number in the age of Justin Beiber and "Call Me Maybe."
Yet it was. "Making Mirrors" is now the unlikeliest hit album of the summer because of that. I just don't know how Gotye will be able to sustain his success. I keep thinking of The Dream Academy back in the 80's, when one unlikely but sublime single catapulted an album into hitdom, but doomed the followups. The songs here are not awful by any means, but the quirky, xylophone sampled "Somebody That I Used To Know" is the outstanding song among the crop. There are plenty of clever bits to be found, like the Kraftwerkian "State of The Art" while the Mowtown/Phil Collins ringer "I Feel Better" could make a decent radio tune.
I just can't find much beyond these songs to recommend the rest of the CD by. Gotye makes nice pleasing pop without the trappings of modern recording technology (minus the sample-happy construction), but he's no Kei$ha, you follow? However, the depth issue might limit his likelihood of sustaining a career, much less making a solid, better than C-grade CD.