As you get to know Washington resident Mike Hadreas through his music, under the moniker of Perfume Genius, you’ll start nodding your head in agreement as he has a refreshingly accurate way of describing every feeling he’s ever felt with poignant expressions like, “I’m here/how weird.” Although I haven’t endured the same trials and tribulations as he, it’s extremely easy to see where he’s come from, and where he wants to go. His sweet, honest demeanor is adorable, and watching him perform is captivating. A self-starter musician, he’s earned his with a very loving fanbase, a spot on John Legend’s Darkness and Light and perhaps, maybe even a little peace within.
For those not familiar with his work, start from the beginning and be captivated with the minimalist, yet dense, piano driven sounds on 2010’s Learning and 2012’s Put Your Back N 2 It, and then move on to the impressive shift we heard on 2014’s Too Bright. Hadreas persevered through some obvious self doubt, pain, desperation; We’ve all experienced our own hell; I like to call mine my 20s. Then, something, like music, happens and you finally realize the struggle is the blessing. Perfume Genius’s fourth album, No Shape, out earlier this year, is a shining example of what a constructive outlet should look like. With Blake Mills on production, the ecstasy of being alive, however mundane and tortured and embarrassing it can feel sometimes, is captured between thirteen songs that consistently go from one end of the spectrum to the other.
The rollercoaster of sounds will take you through tracks like “Wreath” with a wanted guitar riff and “Slip Away” which sounds so fresh and explosive, it will be on repeat after one chorus. It’s a modern day “Eye of the Tiger.” A collaboration with Weyes Blood gives us “Sides,” which just might be my favorite track (dat tuba.) To quote Hadreas, “…sometimes your happiness can feel like a protest against what’s going on.” This protest is what you should be listening for and what will fuel his future endeavors.