Secret Meeting score: 85
by Philip Moss
‘Don’t hold back – I wanna break free,’ wails Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius on the first single, Slip Away, taken from his poptastic new record, No Shape. A motto you get the impression he lives his life by. However, openly gay, the Seattle native has had to battle to be the charismatic frontman we see today, and to live his life this way.
After working with PJ Harvey confidant, John Parish, on his last album, 2014’s Too Bright, Hadreas headed to LA. Blake Mills (Laura Marling, Conor Oberst, Jim James) took the reigns for No Shape and who helped to shape Hadreas’ creative streaks, and harness his desires to create dissonant rock n roll. The sound that he wanted, he told the NME, was a concoction of “body horror Sade, Greek diner Kate Bush and Springsteen in a scrunchie.”
Wreath, which has the same ethereal feeling as the first half of Kate’s Hounds Of Love LP, lyrically references Bush too – ‘Running up that hill, I’m gonna call out every name,’ sharing the struggle filled relationship he’s had with his own body. Just Like Love sees Hadreas reflect back upon childhood, offering advice to young people to embrace their individuality. backed by a colourful palette of sounds. Whilst, Alan, the album’s magnificent finale is the perfect tribute to his beloved boyfriend, and now member of his band, who he met during a stint in rehab.
No Shape is a joyous collection of songs which celebrate that you should be proud to be you. ‘They’ll never break the shape we take,’ and the shape he’s in at the moment is just fine by us.