Two years ago, Perfume Genius (real name Mike Hadreas) debuted with a woeful album full of fragile pop songs. Despite some very positive reviews and the flattering comparison with the music of the highly praised Antony Hegarty, Learning received little attention. Those who heard the album were deeply impressed, but seemingly unable to spread the word. There is a good chance that Put Your Back N 2 It will suffer the same fate as its predecessor.
Again the comparison with Antony Hegarty is swiftly made. Not only does Seattle resident, Mike Hadreas have a similar singing voice to Hegarty, it’s also the shameless wallowing in drama that both artist have in common. Contrary to the feminine balladeer from Chichester, Perfume Genius can be enjoyed without having to drop every last bit of your masculine composure. There are many moments on Put Your Back N 2 it when the vulnerability and tenderness are brought back to normal proportions. Also, the instrumentations on the album are considerably more modern and less theatrical than those on most Antony & the Johnsons’ records.
Put Your Back N 2 It contains many beautiful pop songs that are supported by touching piano compositions, atmospheric synths, subtle guitar licks and that sensitive voice. Both vocally and musically is Put Your Back N 2 It much more exuberant than its predecessor, making the album less painfully confronting and therefore more accessible as far as I am concerned.
What might keep Put Your Back N 2 it from pleasing a mainstream audience that almost half a century ago would have sworn by Art Garfunkel, is the length of the songs. Especially in this genre you expect song to be long stretched, but instead the twelve songs on Put Your Back N 2 It cover just half an hour. Sometimes the endings are so abrupt you think your cd-player is skipping. Many of the songs on Put Your Back N 2 could easily have been twice as long, without becoming tedious. I guess, though, that the desire for something that is not there, is probably the strength of the album.
Another thing that might put people off is the confusing Cabaret Voltairish album sleeve and the equally misleading 90’s hiphop title to the album. Both have little to do with musical beauty, the unfulfilled longing and deep emotional expressiveness of Perfume Genius’ second album. You have to lay down your everyday defenses and allow yourself be smothered by all the misery and like me you’ll end up happy and satisfied.
This review was adapted from Krenten uit de pop.