It’s not a cheesy leap to suggest that every track on Perfume Genius’s (aka Seattle-born loner Mike Hadreas) debut has a different scent. Like Jean-Baptiste Grenouille – the protagonist in Suskind’s eighteenth century novel Perfume (about a perfumer who goes around killing women to steal their odours – you should read it) – you get the impression that every note Hadreas tapes is also a ghost laid to rest. It’s haunting, graphic stuff. In the most part he plays a kind of rickety piano that sounds like it’s been unearthed from the potting shed after decades. And it might well have been since Hadreas’s day job is delivering furniture. But where this bruised removals man’s tinkering is mournful and weary, his lyrics are striking and frightening – tackling death and inadvisable sexual exploration (“No-one will answer your prayers/Until you take off that dress,” he mews on opener ‘Learning’). Not an easy listen, sure, but like a gory comic it’s one you’re drawn back to.

By Omarrr

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