Perfume Genius, the project of Seattle's pianist and singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas,
surfaced with the
lo-fi piano-based folk tales of the mini-album Learning (2010), especially
Hadreas suddenly endorsed lush arrangements on
Put Your Back N 2 It (Matador, 2012) for songs such as
the otherworldly dilated AWOL Marine (a song crushed under the sense of
imminent apocalypse that it emanates)
but his forte remained the way he told his brutal, stirring chronicles of
ordinary aberration such as
the spare, slow, delicate 17,
the harrowing Hood,
the utterly dejected, crying All Waters.
It was actually the absence of music that enhanced the drama.
The very fact of not belonging to any genre or style (just a voice and a piano
mourning, muttering, agonizing) coined a new genre.
Too Bright (Matador, 2014), produced by Portishead's Adrian Utley, includes the
Abba-esque melodrama Queen
Grid, a hybrid of Suicide's Dream Baby Dream and African chanting.
Most of the songs are shallow and predictable, but a few employ diversions to
stand out, like the operatic psychedelic hymn in the middle of Fool or
the metal-machine music that pops up in My Body.
The album is reminiscent of mid-period
David Bowie, when the pop star was desperately
looking for new sounds to revitalize his career.
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