Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 224 - 12/06/14

Perfume Genius
Too Bright
Matador Records

Too Bright has been out for a couple of months already, but since I really liked Perfume Genius' (AKA Seattle native Mike Hadreas) first two albums, 2010's Learning and 2012's Put Your Back N 2 It, I must check out this third platter as well. Again, Hadreas' melancholic and dramatic chamber pop wins through. This is bright stuff, made by a small genius.

Too Bright is led by the singles "Queen" (released in July) and "Grid" (released in September). This is an album holding sophisticated arrangements, as you find in the music of Owen Pallett, or even Caribou. Except the latter has more of a mixed bag of synth grooves in it. I could even add some of Antony Hegarty's moments to compare it to some of Mike Hadreas' songs. According to Matador Records, Perfume Genius/Hadreas has '...cemented his place as a singer-songwriter of rare frankness'. Further they say that he writes/creates songs being 'achingly emotional', and Hadreas' songs offer 'empathy and hope'. He still is king of stark, sparse, piano-driven ballads with a sting. "No Good" is such a great ballad. Emotional, stirring, gorgeous. "Queen" jumps to the floor, and grabs the mic: Yes, it is quite a to-the-point and naked song. Like he always does (most of) his songs. "Queen" is tough, cocky, and stylish. It is way cool. "I Decline" is likewise cool. It seems like most of Perfume Genius' songs appear to be personal statements from Hadreas, and they all work so well. Like Matador say it, he offers '...empathy and hope, rather than any judgment or handwringing'.

As the record spins and flips, spins and flips... over and over, it comes quite clear that Too Bright is Perfume Genius' brightest moment, being Hadreas' best album so far. Yes, I love Learning, but I am willing to admit this one to be the better. There is not a weak song among the eleven tracks. I have mentioned a few, and I could namedrop the bouncy "Grid", the quiet and sore "I Am A Mother", or the album closer: The phenomenal "All Along". Too Bright is, in fact a parade.

Copyright © 2014 H. Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Perfume Genius articles/reviews: All Waters, Learning, Put Your Back N 2 It.

If you wish to print this review, we have a printer friendly version.

    Vinyl collector? We recommend a visit to VinylKnut's Loft listing hundreds of vinyl records for sale, like:
  • Guided By Voices: Propeller (LP 1992/Re 2005)
  • Samla Mammas Manna: Samla / Zamla Box (7xCD Box 2008)
  • Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell: Don't Hear It...Fear It!! (LP+7" 2012 LTD 300)
  • Death In June / Current 93: 1888 (LP 1990 LTD 1000)
  • Det Elektriske Kjøkken: Elefantene Er Kommet (LP 1982)
  • Lykathea Aflame: Elvenefris (2xLP 2000/Re 2012 LTD 150)
  • Mary Jane: Tacit (LP 2002 LTD 400)
  • Monstrance: S/T (2xCD w/t-shirt 2007)
  • Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante: S/T (LP 2012 LTD 1000)
  • White Willow: Ignis Fatuus (2xLP 1995/Re 2010 LTD 100)

We also have 97 other articles/reviews of artists from US, Washington in our archive:

© 2014 Luna Kafé