I discovered Perfume Genius in Tower Records in Shibuya Tokyo. It was the year of "Too Bright's" release, so it must have been in 2014. I was intrigued by the album's front cover shot of Mike Hadreas. I felt it had a connection to David Bowie's "Hunky Dory." I put the headphones on and got to the second cut on the album "Queen," and thought to myself, "this is it." When I got back to Los Angeles, I purchased the vinyl edition, and it is one of my favorite 'new' albums. Keep in mind that I never bought new music anymore. The fact is, the past draws me back to certain eras, not due to nostalgia, but because it's new to my ears. When I hear French Musique Concréte of the 1950s, it just blows everything current away. But to be honest, it's the past that brought me to Perfume Genius. As mentioned, it reminded me of the old Bowie cover, but also a time when homosexuality in pop music meant something to me. It was a forbidden world in the 1970s, especially being surrounded by macho rock icons like The Eagles and so forth. I just wanted that world to go away, and therefore Roxy Music / Bowie/ Glam became part of my chosen language.
Playing "Too Bright" from side one to side two, exposed the world that lived in shadows. There is a low-key technique that Hadreas conveys in his expressionistic view of that planet, that I find intriguing. The songs for one, are very short. They're not The Ramones, except I felt that the shortness of the Ramones first album was a statement in itself. I think "Too Bright" has a similar appeal to come into one's consciousness and then leave as soon as possible. It's like a dream that you awaken from in the middle of the night, but once you go back to sleep, you forget the details of that dream, but you're left with a presence of some sort. "Too Bright" is that presence that stays like an aftertaste of a good mint chocolate candy.
The songs have a quiet groove that at times, reminds me of minimal Electro Prince. Yet there are moments of great majestic gestures that are glam like, but then goes back to a quiet mode of communication. Adrian Utley, of Portishead fame, co-produced this album, and here he shares an ambiance that is very suitable for Hadreas aesthetic. An excellent match-up of talent here.