12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Shadow Of A Shadow,
This review is from: Put Your Back N 2 It (Audio CD)
A friend of mine recently supported Mike Hadreas (Perfume Genius) at a gig in Nottingham (England) and said his stage presence was shy and tentative yet somehow ineffably captivating. I wasn't suprised having listened to his 2010 debut learning which left me with pretty much the same impression, picturing a delicate flower composing harrowing confessionals, that were too intimate and emotive to ignore.
His sophomore album Put Your Back N 2 IT is equally beguiling and easily more sonically pleasing. The beautiful melodies are still there but he's obviously improved the fidelity losing the reverb and introducing drums and electronic synth which are used to brilliant effect, especially on single Hood. The song is initially reminiscent of Cat Stevens Tea For The Tillerman with the terse song length and Hadreas's voice syncopating between spartan piano chords. But it takes a more intense turn halfway in, with drum builds and cymbal crashes accompanying the melody giving the song more power and resonance.
Take Me Home is another song that benefits from the extra instrumentation on display here, played in what i think is waltz time with the drums and effects wonderfully supporting Hadreas's voice and piano, providing some much needed levity to an otherwise sombre song about prostitution. Almost every song on this album sounds gorgeous. Whether they feel elegiac or optimistic, Perfume's beautiful voice and lovely piano paired with the new instrumentation are a perfect combination.
The only criticism (granted it's a minor one) is the short length of the songs on the record. Most come in at about 2 and a half minutes and they all make an impression, but perhaps fall short of being truely indelible because of how fleeting they sometimes feel. Almost like a beautiful robin that has somehow found it's way into your bedroom but flies out again just as your about to get close to it. Perfume probably intended them to feel that way, having our undivided attention for a few chilling moments whilst leaving the listener wanting to hear more of his story the next time round. Nevertheless it's a special album that comes highly recommended.
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Initial post: Mar 1, 2012 8:12:43 PM PST
Your comment about the song length is a valid criticism, and exactly what I wrote in my review of "Learning". Oddly though, I don't feel that way about this one, maybe because I think it's an even better album. I think you're right that it's very intentional; he has a gift for saying a LOT with just a few words, and stretching these songs beyond their natural length would not do them justice. Take for example "17", my favorite song on the album and one of my favorite songs ever. In about ten lines of lyrics, he delivers some of the most devastatingly sad, beautiful poetry I've heard in music.
Anyway, great review. I'm so glad I get to attend his concert too, later this month.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2012 9:00:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 2, 2012 9:15:07 AM PST
thanks and you wrote a pretty good review yourself;) i probably agree with you about it being better than learning it's a tough call though.
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