- Malcolm Jack
- 29 February 2012
An introduction to the YouTube-conquering ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ singer
Meet 31-year-old Wouter ‘Wally’ De Backer, aka Gotye, a Belgium-born, Melbourne-raised singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose inescapable international super-hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ (featuring Kimbra) possesses an almost supernatural appeal that’s sweeping all before it after topping the singles charts in ten different countries and counting.
Don’t tell me, he’s another YouTube sensation?
Yes, but he’s eclipsed the last one – Lana Del Rey – by quite a margin: ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ has a stunning 74 million views at time of writing, to a paltry 29 million for Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’.
Hmm, he sounds a bit like Sting.
De Wacker’s voice is a dead ringer for the lute-abusing one’s when he shifts into a high range. But that’s fortunately where the comparison ends among a diverse oeuvre full of quirky and inventive experimentation with vintage instruments, electronics and found sound.
Is the rest of his stuff any good?
Current album Making Mirrors is a mixed bag – try the icy electro-pop of ‘Eyes Wide Open’, avoid the likes of Stax/Motown soul facsimile ‘I Feel Better’. A veteran on the Australian scene, he’s got two prior long-players to his name, and he also plays with long-serving Melbourne indie band The Basics, so there’s lots to explore.
We hear he’s big in Poland?
The Poles have fallen under the spell of ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ so much that it’s become their longest-running ever number one, a feat Gotye’s also achieved in his home country Australia.
What, he’s been on the top spot there longer than even Savage Garden?
Remarkable, but true.
O2 ABC, Glasgow, Mon 4 Mar.