Ours: Precious (DreamWorks)

The really perfect take is about imperfection.

Jimmy Gnecco has a beautiful voice. It’s the voice of Jeff Buckley, miraculously reincarnated into the body of this 20-something New Jersey poet, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. And when Gnecco gives that anguished yelp, as he does on “Realize,” you know the ghost still lives and breathes.

You may remember Ours from last year’s Distorted Lullabies, a beautifully haunting tour of the demons inside our heads led by a man with a truly angelic voice. Gnecco now admits he tried too hard to make Lullabies perfect. With Precious—so named because the album, in Gnecco’s opinion, is anything but—he says he learned “that the really perfect take is about imperfection.”

Which means, of course, that you may find fault with Lullabies. If you’re a Velvet Underground fan, you may not like Ours’ remake of “Femme Fatale”; it needs either to maintain the quiet grace of the original or break free of its mold and rock, I’m not sure which. You may admire the unhinged spontaneity in “Realize,” a song Gnecco wrote in just 15 minutes, or you may wish for more polish.

Say what you want about imperfection, though; Ours makes it work. The delicate and dreamy “Broken” will touch you both lyrically and sonically. So, too, will “Disaster in a Halo” with Gnecco’s repeated insistence that “nothing even matters” uttered against a crescendo of guitars. And the doo doo intro to “If Flowers Turn” is deceptively poppy for such a dark and serious song.

Precious is no sophomore slump, no 180-degree change in direction. It is, instead, Ours freeing themselves, giving themselves permission to be imperfect—which is, of course, the only way to be truly real.

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