Graham Reid | | 1 min read
No New Zealander has to apologise for noting the most outstanding track on this third album by Australian wunderkind singer/producer Gotye -- aka Wally de Backer who slayed them on home turf with his '06 album Like Drawing Blood -- is the third track Somebody I Used To Know which features expat Kiwi singer Kimbra.
That Kimbra has her own classy, intelligent and exceptional debut album Vows out at the same time might be slightly galling for Gotye, but it won't hurt his chances getting some spin-off attention for this third album.
Although frankly, if it wasn't for Kimbra's presence on Used To Know the song could sound like a rather lame prog-rock single by Yes, all high vocals and poppery where you aren't paying attention to the words of complaint about a lover.
But after Kimbra enters you do.
He's been singing: "Told myself you were right for me . . . you could be addicted to a certain kind of sadness . . . you didn't have to cut me out . . . I don't even need your love you didn't have to stoop so low ,. . . now you're just somebody that I used to know").
But when Kimbra enters with her soft and sultry vocal ("can't help think of all the times you screwed me over") which gains power and confidence with every line ("got me believing it was always something that I'd done") until ("I don't want to live that way") she nails the title line and turns the focus of the song from him to her.
In its own way this becomes a much more dramatic and contemporary version of the Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush single Don't Give Up . . . but from long after the giving up has been done and each party has got the confidence to say "No".
It's an outstanding song.
Elsewhere there are lesser returns: Eyes Wide Open again seems to channel Yes which is not a good thing; he weighs some lightweight songs down with ponderous lyrics (Smoke and Mirrors); Save Me delivers nothing more than he does elsewhere.
I Feel Better is faux-soul which is a grand conceit and kinda fun, he gets the handclaps going again on soul-jazz In Your Light and Don't Worry We'll Be Watching you is suitably creepy (in a Peter Gabriel way).
Bronte at the end is a quiet and considered piece worth skipping to which again brings to mind Gabriel at his most sympathetic.
Gotye is a smart arranger and knows how to place a catchy sound (the buzzing guitar riff which holds up Easy Way Out) but much of this sounds like he's been raiding the wrong Eighties record collection, the one where Genesis' Invisible Touch is prominent.
Like the sound of this? Then try this.