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Gotye

Like Drawing Blood

Like Drawing Blood cover

Assembled from a mountain of bargain-bin samples, Belgian-Australian maverick Gotye's second solo album, Like Drawing Blood, is an impressively eclectic cut-and-paste affair that suggests "the next Sting/Peter Gabriel" labels are doing him a slight disservice. Produced by Franc Tetaz (Architecture in Helsinki), the follow-up to 2003's Boardface undeniably still tips its cap to the two juggernauts of '80s world-pop, particularly on the reverb-drenched dub of "Puzzle with a Piece Missing" and the melodic AOR of "Night Drive," the latter of which ends in a clattering Phil Collins-style drum solo. But Gotye's musical brain is far too hyperactive and intelligent to simply focus his efforts on one particular type of pastiche, and elsewhere, he makes convincing forays into foot-stomping Northern soul on "Learnalilgivinanlovin," claustrophobic trip-hop on the Harry Belafonte-sampling "Hearts a Mess," and lolloping electro-funk of "Thanks for Your Time" (perhaps the best song to be inspired by the frustrations of call centers), while also venturing onto the postwar dancefloor with the instrumental Gallic waltz of "Seven Hours with a Backseat Driver" and the strutting tango of "Coming Back." However, the running times of its 11 tracks are all over the place, with the atmospheric gothic indie pop of "The Only Thing I Know" failing to sustain its early momentum over seven meandering minutes, while at the other end of the scale, the intriguing orchestral melancholy of 38-second closer "Worn Out Blues" is over before it's even begun. A little more control in the editing suite might have helped, then, but Like Drawing Blood is still an engaging and diverse affair that should see Gotye begin to shake off the constant comparisons.

Review by Jon O'Brien

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