Perfume Genius returns with his fourth album, and it's a big one. Over the course of its thirteen tracks, No Shape paints a bright vision of Mike Hadreas’ alternative art-pop / R&B world, sounding more pop than ever before but still maintaining the queer magic essential to Perfume Genius. No Shape is released by Matador.
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With widescreen on the mind, Mike Hadreas drops the year’s heaviest record yet, metal and noise and all your transgressions be damned. This record of immaculately detailed pop music opens with the intention of surrounding every single one of us, enrapturing those of us who will hear it on headphones (read: me, a fool) with a production so huge it makes me feel like I’m listening to it in five different empty rooms at once. The song bursts into a euphorically crushed climax before coming back down on those broken piano taps, suggesting that each and every way ‘No Shape’ moves, it will be a big hitter.
I was attracted to the quiet, downtrodden sparsity of ‘Too Bright’ but I’m happy to call the complete opposites on Hadreas’ follow-up my next of kin -- they make true on the promise of “Queen” and prove Hadreas to be a monolith of pop. The ground he covers with this record is massive, with the furious chorus of “Slip Away” sounding halfway between baroque pop and a power ballad, the plucks of “Just Like Love” toppled by an ambient cascade, rocked by distorted riffs and serenaded by a cheeky string arrangement that recalls Owen Pallett’s tinkerings. All things considered, it sounds like Hadreas is having massive fun designing this record, seeing what sound can exist with total clarity next to another.
Hadreas can do a record with “Every Night” -- a solo acoustic paen with the pindrop detail of Fleet Foxes -- alongside tunes that go in on Arca-like beatwork (“Go Ahead”) and an all-out retro pop symphony in “Sides”. This is big, movie-made record that sees a listener making every minute musical decision with the same intensity. Huge.
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- No Shape by Perfume Genius
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