Perfume Genius: Put Your Back N 2 It
Listeners would be forgiven to be skeptical about Put Your Back N 2 It. Beyond the silly title, the album has also earned controversy after YouTube deemed inappropriate promo footage featuring Perfume Genius (née Mike Hadreas) scantily clad and embracing a pornographic actor.
But Hadreas’ music is neither reductive nor explicit. Instead, Put Your Bank N 2 It features vulnerable vocals, poignant piano, and acoustic guitars. It’s a delicate, beautiful album filled with just as much longing as Hadreas’ debut, Learning. This troubadour knows how to use minimalism to his advantage, with his brief songs striking the heart and then pulling away before blood can be spilled.
The tragic “No Tear” is only enhanced by haunting vocals, with the words “I shall shed no tear” manipulated to sound like an old record slowly dying. “All Waters” features gentle keyboards as Hadreas’ lyrics describe a desolate world in which lovers ought to cling to one another. The build of “Hood” has shades of 50’s doo-wop, and the album’s title track is a piano ballad filled with unfulfilled desire.
Fans of Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, and Villagers will be able to appreciate Perfume Genius’ aesthetic as well as his sound. Strip away your pretenses, and you will find a deeply human experience captured in this record.