Album Review

Making Mirrors

Making Mirrors

by Gotye

Frequency Media Group
7.5 / 10
17th October, 2011

Reviewed by Imogen Reid

Wally de Backer, aka Gotye, noted that latest album Making Mirrors demonstrated the same diversity that his previous album Like Drawing Blood had. It’s an apt description; ambient and melancholic melodies juxtapose upbeat and rocky tunes, and then there is the 70s mo-town style that was heard on Gotye’s previous albums. Inspired by his father’s artwork, the concept for this album as stated by Gotye himself is self-reflection and the songs show this by contrasting to each other. Mirroring emotions; mirroring statements; mirroring sound.

On ‘State of the Art’, Gotye showcases his talent for utilizing a song’s construction in a creative manner. The song consists of sound clips mashed together to create an unexpectedly well-harmonised backing track with Gotye’s voice - which is distorted in a delightfully surprising way - detailing how he is made the track. This song needs to be listened to from beginning to end, not only to truly appreciate the genius that went into putting it together but to understand the humourous self-observation it encompasses.

Through his lyrics, Gotye engulfs the listener in his world. We are made privy to his – extremely personal – mistakes and philosophical insight. On the single ‘Somebody that I used to know’, featuring up-and-coming Kiwi Kimbra, we hear both sides of a failed relationship; it’s as if Gotye has a play in mind and we are hearing part of the dialogue. Kimbra’s voice is well-matched with Gotye’s and they both have the ability to express rage and angst in how they sing. The lyrics have a similarly sinister tone in both ‘Eyes Wide Open’, which is about the tragedy of everyday life, and ‘Don’t worry, We’ll be watching you’.

In similarly eclectic fashion, Gotye alternates his voice for each track. In ‘Easy way out’ he seems to be mumbling to himself as a way of singing despite the upbeat nature of the music, up until the chorus where his much stronger vocals are reminiscent of The Beatles. After listening to ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ - a fantastic track with a repeating riff and trumpets in the refrain – I thought proceeding track ‘I Feel Better’ was from a different album because Gotye changes his voice completely for his mo-town style songs.

The only criticism I have of this album is that the songs can be so different from there is nothing to tie them together as an album: both ‘I Feel Better’ and ‘In Your Light’ are feel good love songs, contrasting the morose, heartbroken songs around them, with the exception of ‘Save me’ – a song in the style of arena rock which seems to be about a positive retrospective view on a past relationship.

Gotye is at his best when he is most imaginative and willing to experiment with the sounds available to him. This album seems to be a melting pot of his ideas thrown together. In comparison with his fantastic older single, ‘Learnalilgivinandlovin’, his mo-town style songs on this album sound more like easy-listening pop, enjoyable nevertheless. However, the other songs are a world away from that genre and, taken separately, each one sounds terrific.

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