Consumer Guide Album
Perfume Genius: No Shape [Matador, 2017]
Title notwithstanding, the most revealing of the many things Mike Hadreas has said about his fourth album concerns the melodies he took it upon himself to fashion first: "I made sure they had a chorus and a bridge--all the things I have never done before because they felt like work." A gay man avowedly uncomfortable in his own body, with the Crohn's disease, erotic asphyxiation fixation, and abated addictions to prove it, Hadreas insisted listeners come to him on 2014's strong-willed Too Bright. But here his music meets the rest of us more than halfway. By all means enjoy how the first three tracks all start with a tease before breaking out the rockets' red glare. I prefer "Just Like Love," where a preteen comes out in front of the social media mirror, to "Slip Away," with its risk-drunk "If you never see 'em coming / You'll never have to hide." But in both cases the music testifies that for hypersensitives like Hadreas boldness is always an achievement worth melodizing about. It bids for solidarity and deserves it.