Review Summary: A perception that matters for be-fundled, baby adults
The best part of I Do Perceive
, or maybe even the whole of the Owen project, comes at the end of “That Tattoo Isn't Funny Anymore”; a point which has singer-songwriter and general indie-emo legend Mike Kinsella effortlessly pole-vaulting from the song's initial instrumental, lyrical attack directed at a show-y significant other into strummed acoustic guitar chords and a catchy picked lead. It all comes together when the perfect atmosphere is set with this clincher of a lyric that's repeated over and over until the song's close: “I don't miss you – I'll miss you when you're dead.”
Kinsella, in the span of a six-minute song, has just cut through multiple layers of emotional attachment to get to the heart of what he truly feels, underneath all that angst, infatuation, whatever – in this case, about a bi
tch of a girl. Take note of this and its appearance in surrounding tracks of I Do Perceive
as well. Because in my limited experience, if a singer or a friend has herself or himself more or less emotionally figured out, down to his or her core, I trust what he or she has to say regarding such issues: I listen to him or her and take it to heart
as advice or support for my own fu
cking emotional baggage.
Emotionally unsure of itself in an ironic way, sporadic and not set in some strict musical structure, I Do Percieve
captures the persona of the struggling, hopeful yet bitter individual that's trainwrecking through his or her 20s. Kinsella destroys the ex
in opener “Who Found Who's Hair in Who's Bed?”, subtly yet ruthlessly as his voice bends and croons into a head-stealing melody in the chorus: “So who pulled whose hair from whose head? / Well it told me more of you than you did.” Yet not above his own failings as a human, he then promptly turns the table and destroys himself
in the following introspective take of “Note to Self:”: ”You ain't no goddamn
tch / You're just more unlikable than you used to be.”
Pairing these two songs as the opening confessionals for I Do Percieve
sets things straight for many who may think Kinsella to be no more than an arrogant ass – a few key songs from preceding album No Good for No One Now
may be responsible for this. In short, he's just a flawed human being who's been close to other flawed people. And throughout the touching acoustic strums and arpeggios of I Do Percieve
, he takes special care to make that clear. In “Put Your Hands On Me, My Love”, he appologizes to close friends for being a social, needy vampire throughout their lives. And when he helps a wife of a “local pharmacist” cheat with him in “Playing Possum for a Peek”, he even owns up to the fact that he can't hardly control his desires and urging for lust and free sex in order to stop it.
Kinsella reflects on his rowdy friends and the prodigal living of his own teen years in highlight “Bed Abuse”, tinting it all in a mid-life crisis come-too-early. “I've seen what living's done to those alive,” he says over dual-guitar picking and flavorful rolling drums, ”little to none, little to none.” I know, at least for me, such words hit hard today more than ever; because, yeah, when in high school it's important to be somebody, one that's living
it up and all. But now? Right
. Adolescence was a rush, and just like with sugar, there's a crash that follows its surge. I Do Perceive
paints Kinsella as a saintly un-saint that really seems to know and, more importantly, really understand this. With so many singer-songwriters trying to match this very set age with their songs, and usually failing at it, it's reassuring that there's at least one album that hits the nail on the head: I Do Perceive
is a perception that actually matters.