Perfume Genius

Too Bright

Matador

Sep 24, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J Bookmark and Share


Every year deserves a keyboard record crying out to be performed in a concert hall instead of a club. In 2014, Perfume Genius's Too Bright is that record. The songs here may vary in tempo and orchestration but they all sound as coiffed, sheeny, and slick as Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius) looks on the cover. When "Queen" dropped as a single for this record, he hinted at a record which would be regal while steering clear of the grandiose. When hearing the whole record it's clear he's guaranteed his own enthroning.

Hadreas knows true artistry is equal parts showing off and self-restraint. Take "Longpig," shooting its synths out like flare guns in perfect cadence, even including one breakdown which sounds more like Rick Wakeman than M83. But what comes after that? The somber, slowed-down, and atmospheric "I'm a Mother." Somehow it doesn't feel like a change of pace. Three albums in and Hadreas can already run a mile with enough speed and strategy to not even break a sweat.

While his synthesizer showmanship leaves nothing to be desired, it's his piano-based ballads which show what a singular artist he is. Album opener "I Decline" shows the power of simplicity, and songs like "No Good," "Don't Let Them In," and "Too Bright" are more bullet points to prove the principle. The same goes for his more bass-heavy and ominous tracks, "My Body" and "Grid." None of these songs are particularly complex and they're all the more brilliant for it.

Similar to St. Vincent's self-titled record delivered earlier this year, Too Bright is pitch-perfect, released under a stage name, and adorned with its creator's visage. 2014 is the year Annie Clark became the king of indie rock and now Mike Hadreas is its queen. (www.facebook.com/perfumegeniusofficial)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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