Put Your Back N2 It – (5 / 5)
Put Your Back N2 It is an album of small pleasures. It’s a small wonder that the epic song of the album towards the end is only three and half minutes long, “Floating Spit”. Its another small wonder that there is not much more than a piano and a man’s voice on most of these songs. But the biggest small wonder is that the album means so much to me personally, and it comes from a person that could not be more different in the way we view our lives and the world around us. Mike Hadreas views the world as an introverted wonder, a shy and dark perspective on life that leaves little hope or joy. He is a pessimist at best, hopeless at worst, but he conveys his outlook through music that is among the most heartfelt I have ever heard.
Just listening to a song like “Take Me Home” is like peering into another world, a world that Hadreas knows so well. “I’ll be like a shadow of a shadow, of a shadow, for you.” He sings. Picking a favorite off the record is hard, they all express a strong sense of loss and they all do it so well that favorites only come by what mood your in. As a singer/songwriter, this is only his second album, and shows the promise of a true artist: no emotion is too private to express, and he expresses it with plenty of finesse but the humility of an average nobody who is just walking down the street. His songs also take odd detours just when you think they are being close to conventional- check the structure of “Dark Parts” or “Hood”. This album will change your outlook on life.
Best Tracks: Take Me Home, Floating Spit, Dark Parts, 17
Too Bright – (4.5 / 5)
Perfume Genius shows a mastery over his odd brand of rock music on his 3rd record. Everything he tries works brilliantly, and he is more adventurous then ever before. “Grid” and “My Body” point to a direction of dark intensity that I hope he explores further on other records. He is still his insular self though, with opener “I Decline” and title track “Too Bright” crooning you along like nothing at all has changed. Advances are also shown in “Fool”, a song that is mostly abstract sound painting but manages to open and close with a catchy melody. These kind of tricks are just there to show off how GOOD a songwriter Hadreas actually is, and hopefully his ever expanding audience. I could see Perfume Genius conquering the airwaves someday but at the same time, pushing the boundaries for adventurous singer songwriters; the leader of this type of songs is of course “Queen”, penning the immortal line “no family is safe when I sashay”. Too Bright lives up to its title, though the title can be misleading, and it shows that he is full of so many ideas he doesn’t know what to do with himself.
Best Tracks: Fool, Grid, My Body, Queen