Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It


Artist: Perfume Genius
Title: Put Your Back N 2 It
Record Label: Matador Records
Rating: 7.8

With the slightest whiff of intrigue and intellect, Mike Hadreas otherwise known as Perfume Genius returns with his sophomore record, Put Your Back N 2 It. The isolated lethargy of Hadreas’ craft still resonates as demonstrated in debut LP, Learning. Where his first record was a document of isolation, this second outing communicates a wide range of themes including family, intimacy, secrecy and hope.

Put Your Back N 2 It is an atmospheric listening experience from beginning to end. The 12 tracks all boast a sedate quality that divulges something of a celestial calm when Hadreas’ vocals and minimal arrangements of piano and drums interweave. The intimate nature of this record conjures up comparisons to Antony Hegarty through the tenderness of Hadreas’ voice while the hymnal glow that shrouds that voice triggers the memory of Spiritualized at their more restrained.

The album announces itself with a subtle piano motif in the guise of ‘AWOL Marine’ which drifts along on its sparse instrumentation, that slowly builds up to climax as a wailing wall of sound. As the squall ebbs away, ‘Normal Song’ echoes forth as a tender lullaby built on sparse acoustic guitar strums. While Hadreas’ voice maintains a sultry coo throughout, on ‘Take Me Home’ his vocal takes a turn for the soulful. The delicate organic side of Perfume Genius weaves throughout this album, illustrating relationship struggles and intrigue towards human behaviour as articulated in ‘All Waters’ and ‘17’ which carries a topic of body issues amongst gay men.

Hadreas has commented on his latest work, suggesting that this album is an attempt to paint the picture of everyday life and the struggles that are associated with its modernity. While it may seem that Put Your Back N 2 It could be a voyage into glumsville, Hadreas stresses that he always wanted to create an album of honesty and hope.

As a relaxed affair, Put Your Back N 2 It isn’t the sort of album to make pulses race, but it is a delicate missive that ensures Perfume Genius has managed to capture the essence of something heartfelt,
yet bleak, while still maintaining a deft human touch.

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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