Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Jun 23rd, 2017

Perfume Genius: No Shape

Perfume Genius
No Shape
(Matador Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

Perfume Genius, the alias of Mike Hadreas, has crossed coasts and musical genres since the early 00s. Combining breathy indie rock with stately, epic folk, and often influenced by his classical training, his latest album No Shape is a true work of art.

The first single, “Slip Away” has a driving beat and masterful harmonies in the choruses.  “Go Ahead” has a sense of urgency with its chant of “Go ahead and try.” It’s sparse and effective, perhaps an anthem of defiance and doing better than them, whoever “they” are: “Baby, I’m already walking in the light.” Coming from someone who was bullied relentlessly in school for being openly gay and pushed to the point of dropping out, it’s not hard to imagine the catharsis behind some of Hadreas’s songs.

“Every Night” is more of a lullaby, the vocals sweet and steady in front of swelling strings. “Run Me Through” delves into something almost like the blues, no doubt influenced by the album’s producer, Blake Mills, who has worked with John Legend and southern rockers Alabama Shakes.

In fact, I’m so struck by this guy’s voice, that I can’t even draw a comparison to anybody; Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, and James Blake have all come close, but are still nothing like him. His earlier work on albums like Too Bright and Put Your Back N 2 It was a sign of greater things to come. This album has a substance and weight to it by comparison that feels impressively well-developed. I highly recommend listening to it straight through and with headphones. You will fall into it.

Mike Hadreas has also curated a wonderful playlist for Pride Month, which can be found on Spotify.

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Perfume Genius: No Shape