Tainted love, lustrous, lilting vocals and yearning lyrics – ‘Too Bright’ starts like a Lana Del Ray album. But what differentiates Michael Hadreas aka Perfume Genius from his chart-topping contemporary is a boldness and directness that’s quickly becoming distinctly his.

There is something almost confrontational about his lyrics. “Cracked, peeled, riddled with disease,” he sings in ‘Queen’, the second track on this third album. It’s a song he’s described as being inspired by “gay panic” and the sheer power of knowing that by simply existing, one can make another feel uncomfortable. It’s an exceptionally powerful song whose message creates a palpable tension between the conventional, ornate pop composition and the lyrics themselves.

The rest of the album is an equally unique listen. Combining ballad piano and minimal electronic rhythms with bursts of off-key weirdness, Hadreas uses conventional structures and makes them strange. ‘Grid’ begins with pulses of lo-fi bass against the singer’s almost theatrical vocals, before being injected with discordant shouts and chants that sound as if they’re coming from a broken radio. It’s a brilliant third effort from an experimental Perfume Genius, shrouded in a sticky pop disguise.


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