Echoes of Jeff Buckley persist, but Jimmy Gnecco also takes some big steps forward on his band's sophomore release. Few of his contemporaries sing with the unabashed emotion he brings to every track on Precious. His screeches on "Kill the Band" and falsetto howls over the gentle 6/8 sway of "Places" reflect a willingness to push to the point of hysteria, yet many of the strongest moments occur between such abreactive episodes. In his rendition of the Velvet Underground chestnut "Femme Fatale," Gnecco achieves a kind of trashy elegance, dripping over the words like silk on the shoulders of a glam poseur. And what impresses most on "Broken" isn't the demented shrieking -- it's the space Gnecco traverses to get there from the whispered, introspective opening. The band's sensitivity to his vocals is uncanny, even at ear-bleed levels of intensity; there's much more immediacy to the instrumental tracks than on Distorted Lullabies, thanks in large part to producer Ethan Johns' propulsive drumming. At peak moments, these performances nearly match the standards for catharsis set by John Lennon's Janov-era exorcisms -- and the songs, though heavy with existential import, aren't bad either.
AllMusic Review by Robert L. Doerschuk