Put Your Back N 2 It
Feb 27, 2012 Web Exclusive
The title of Perfume Genius' second album may suggest exertion, and the first sound you hear when you listen to it is a deep, labored breath, but the music's execution and emotional impact feel more like letting go. Lovely, at times heart-wrenching, and musically fragile to the point of shattering, the record plays like a series of themes serving as lifetime codas, even when the lyrics suggest otherwise.
Seattle-based Mike Hadreas is Perfume Genius, and his vocals fall somewhere between the gentle meditations of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and a subdued Antony Hegarty. Where his debut album, 2010's Learning, offered its songs through a slightly hazy, sonic-postcard atmosphere, thanks to its mastering from second-generation MP3s, Put Your Back N 2 It is lush and warm, wrapping just enough instrumentation around Hadreas and his piano to add accent and/or to drive home the lyrics' suggested pros or consequences.
"There is still grace in this," Hadreas sings on the title track. "Let me be the one to turn you on." This when-all-others-forsake-thee embrace reaches throughout the album, though "Hood" posits that one's savior might be darkly multidimensional: "You'd never call me baby if you knew the truth." (www.myspace.com/kewlmagik)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10