Gotye - Like Drawing Blood

You have to admire Gotye. Apart from the fact that he is one of Australia's most exciting composers, he is clearly also a very patient man. His latest album Like Drawing Blood has been a long time coming and most of us expected to get our hands on a copy last year. Triple J has practically been chomping at the bit. But throw into the recording process having to move house four times, countless computer crashes, one critical hard-disk failure, and mounting expectations, and you have to wonder how Wally De Backer (the man behind the name) managed to produce anything at all. Thankfully, he did, and the result is stunning.


Like Drawing Blood is a layered and expansive album. An extensive record collection and an ability to play Frankenstein with old sounds, so that they take on a new life, are put to good use. Kicking off with the beat-driven The Only Way, Gotye knowingly celebrates the end of a testing journey. It is a desperate carnival of haunting harmonies and brilliant instrumental arrangement. The moody Hearts A Mess follows, pushing a sorrowful confession of loneliness soundtracked with perfectly placed orchestral strings and swinging grooves. De Backer's vocals are delivered free of acrobatics and support Orwell's mantra, less is more, despite what Australian Idol judges would have you believe.


The breadth of Gotye's sound evolves as the album unfolds. Like his friend and fellow Melbourne artist Faux Pas (who laid out the brilliant artwork for this album), Gotye manages to drag past sounds into the present with relative ease. The playful Thanks For Your Time, a sarcastic and funky ode to computerised telephone services, fuses the old and the new, kicking the album up a gear. Every Triple J announcer's nightmare, the phonetically titled Learnalilgivinanlovin, continues the upbeat feel, inspired by De Backer's love of northern soul.


As Like Drawing Blood progresses, the music becomes more reflective. The grooves of Puzzle With A Piece Missing, A Distinctive Sound and the cruising Night Drive showcase Gotye's more laid back palette. The sampling and clever lyrics are still there, but the feel is more patient. Closing with the aptly titled Worn Out Blues, Wally De Backer turns off the light on what must have been one of the biggest challenges of his life.


Like Drawing Blood may well have been like its namesake to create, but the listening experience is far more pleasant. It's a beautiful down-the-rabbit-hole journey into the world of one of Australia's most exciting new talents… and a great indication of what Wally De Backer has to offer when the odds are stacked against him. Imagine what he could do with a little luck on his side!

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