An Australian enigma? Perhaps. Certainly Gotye is rather more interesting than Skippy - you do remember Skippy, don't you? - the Bush Kangaroo who was the only other Australian enigma that we could think of. Gotye, for the record, is actually a one man musical powerhouse alter ego to Walter de Backer.
Now Gotye has a natural feel for the beat. From the eastern rhythms of "The Only Way" to the quasi-Motown of "Learnalilgivinanlovin", this is very accessible and at times truly joyous stuff. God knows what kind of record collection he had access to but it must have been an extensive one. There are bits and pieces from everywhere but this album never sounds like a retread of someone else's ideas. There's a vaguely reggae feel to "Puzzle with a Piece Missing", for example, but it isn't a reggae song. It has often been said - mostly by the Bluesbunny - that the best pop music manages to be familiar without being the same. That's a good trick of you can do it. Fortunately, Gotye can do it.
After so many years of hearing samples used in the same tired way (that'll be hip-hop/rap/techno then…), this album was something of a revelation. The inventive use of rhythm will keep you wondering where the next song will take you. In fact this album could be the missing link between the much maligned ambient/electronica genre and the real world of music. Class is what this is!