BRIGHTNESS JUST RIGHT
The first thing you’d notice upon an initial playthrough of Mike Hadreas’ third outing as Perfume Genius is the brief length of time it’s taken him to convey his thoughts and messages through orchestrated songs. Over half the tunes in the entire 33-minute-long LP don’t even make the three-minute mark, but he’s made more of that half hour than most artistes do on albums twice that length. It’s short and sweet, concentrated and concise, yet the diversity that Hadreas explores in this album showcases a maturity that wasn’t present in his first two (undoubtedly good) releases.
Silence is golden, and the spaces that he’s created within the album allows his numbers to breathe and settle in – never too overpowering, and without the awkward tension that was noticeably present at certain points during Learning and, to a lesser extent, the superb Put Your Back N 2 It. With a divergent blend of sonics and additional instrumentation, Too Bright pushed his sound to the next level. Many minimalistic artistes suffer from overproduction when stepping into the other side, but Hadreas hasn’t turned into one of them, in no small part thanks to Adam Utley, who produced the album to nigh perfection – a record which almost didn’t turn out the way that it did.
After months of work put into writing “mid-tempo Adele songs”, which Hadreas had thought people wanted to hear, an epiphany hit and caused him start writing for himself again. But with a twist to it this time around. While he’s always penned touching and direct lyricisms, Too Bright sees him stepping out of the isolated woods and into the promised land – not focusing too much on the self-pity and struggles that we experienced alongside him prior to this release, instead it’s replaced with a certain swagger and aggression snapping back at his derisors.
‘Queen’ slowly paints a beautiful picture of this previously undiscovered side of him – scathing, gusty, and something that would have been the perfect soundtrack to Lloyd Lee’s silent troubles in Entourage years back. That’s not to say that he’s left his roots behind though, we still get our fair share of the Perfume Genius that we’ve all come to know and love with familiar ballads like the languid album opener ‘I Decline’, as well as the ending heartbreaker ‘All Along’. Old or new, this album excites us very much for what’s to come – whatever that will be, it’s going to be fabulous.
LISTEN TO: ‘Longpig’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: PJ Harvey
1. I Decline
4. No Good
5. My Body
6. Don’t Let Them In
9. I’m a Mother
10. Too Bright
11. All Along