Artist: Perfume Genius
Title: “Put Your Back N 2 It”
Bruised, battered and pained characters lie at the heart of “Put Your Back N 2 It,” the second helping of tracks from Seattle-based Perfume Genius, the brainchild of songwriter Mike Hadreas.
These characters find hope and optimism, too, as “Dark Parts” demonstrates. While it talks of a mother’s abusive relationship with the character’s grandfather, “he’ll never break you, baby” and “the love you feel is stronger” rule the day.
The songs, mostly slow piano ballads pushed along by Hadreas’ tender croon, would be melancholy if they weren’t so genuinely sad. Hadreas described “17″ as “a gay suicide letter.”
The sadness of “Put Your Back N 2 It” – a terrible title for what is such a serious record – is so immediate and so palpable that it’s a good thing the record lasts 32 minutes.
That helps make the difficult moments easier to swallow. So does the hopefulness lurking throughout: “No secret, no matter how nasty, can poison your voice or keep you from joy.”
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.