Oh Gotye, we hardly (used to) know you. Musically, the Belgian-Australian singer/songwriter whose real name is Wouter “Wally” De Backer has kept a low profile since wrapping up touring for his Grammy-festooned 2011 album, Making Mirrors. Kimbra, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” collaborator, just put out a beguiling new major-label album, The Golden Echo. With scarcely a notice from the U.S. press, meanwhile, De Backer’s reunited Melbourne three-piece the Basics let slip a new live album, My Brain’s Off (And I Like It), last December.
With an album title like that, Gotye and company have an obvious alternate career path as politicians. And it just so happens De Backer and bandmates Kris Schroeder and Tim Heath are looking to do something very much like that. The Basics have been campaigning on their Facebook page on behalf of the newly formed Basics Rock’n’Roll Party, which needs 500 officially registered members to be eligible for this November’s Victoria state election. Never fear, mothers and fathers: The central issues of their campaign are not sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll but, as they put it, “innovation, education and rock’n’roll.” Australians already have universal health care, so hey, let them eat guitars, right?
So far, the Basics’ party is sounding a populist note. “Decisions don’t have to be made by these elite, you can just be musician,” Schroeder told the Australian Associated Press. “We’ve all got higher education degrees so we’re not just musicians, but we haven’t come up through any political ideology. We just care about certain things like Indigenous affairs and education.”
The BRRP’s goals include encouraging schools to teach the culture, customs and language of Australia’s Indigenous people, mandatory first-aid training for high school students and, naturally, the preservation and expansion of music facilities.
From a hemisphere away, those all sounds like worthy objectives. And given how little publicity surrounded the Basics’ 2013 release, it’s not as if the Gotye-led crew is likely to be out there willfully courting international attention. And yet, rock’n’roll fans — and Basics, and Gotye fans — here’s one more little bit of news: The band says it has recorded 16 songs at Abbey Road Studios in London, with an EP due out in mid-October and an album arriving early next year. Song titles include “Ashleigh Wakes,” “A Coward’s Prayer in G,” “Whatever Happened to the Working Class?” and “Operation Sovereign Basics.”
The “Somebody That I Used to Know” singer is somebody we could soon be getting to know again — and not only as a politician.