I shouldn’t have first listened to Perfume Genius’ fourth album with a hangover. In this depleted state all ‘No Shape’ does is push the burgeoning headache around my brain, very slowly, producing a sensation like thin metallic worms boring right into the grey matter. It’s all those whiny string sections and the plinky-plonky piano music.
Then again, maybe it’s not the hangover after all. This is an album that’s trying too hard to contrive depth. It improves with a second listen (I can just about bear ‘Every Night’, which has a melodic, cinematic quality and ‘Die 4 You’, which I imagine would work for the slow dance at an Emo wedding), but only slightly. There are tortured, drawn-out instrumentals, baffling pseudo intellectual lyrics and, on ‘Go Ahead’ (the worst track here) a vibrating helicopter sound that buzzes irritatingly in the background for 40 seconds in the middle of the song. I don’t know whether this is an attempt to produce sonic pleasure, and it could very well be it’s a move that works on some listeners, but it doesn’t do it for me.