By Liam Harrison, October 2 2014 —
Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, has done a lot of growing since 2012’s aching and mournful Put Your Back N 2 It.
His newest album, Too Bright, features soul-searching intimacy filtered through extroversion and a newfound acceptance of his homosexuality and idiosyncratic tendencies.
Songs like “Queen,” with its fantastically provocative line “No family is safe, as I sashay,” showcases Hadreas turning away from songs about how he sees the world. Instead he’s looking at how the world sees him and how he wants to be seen. The song’s eerie synths and throbbing bass reflect the fancifulness of old-school glam and new wave, influences immediately seen on the cover.
His lyrics on the delicate ballad “Don’t Let Them In” talk of his inability to face the outside world, as the energy of carrying his persona leaves him unable to carry himself.
Like a post-modern Ziggy Stardust, Hadreas injects ironic glamour into an original and sonically diverse work. On “Grid” he’s the extravagant critic bellowing about swallowing shit-covered diamonds, whereas on “I’m A Mother,” he’s nothing but a muffled squeak on top of ambient piano.
On “Fool” he’s buying dresses, embracing both his sexuality and the hand of the man he loves. In that same song he’s bleeding on that dress, singing that he doesn’t need “your love,” all he needs is someone to listen.
Hadreas has always been able to devastate, but on Too Bright he wreaks emotional havoc whilst confidently ambling down the catwalk.