Charlotte Russell is impressed with Jay Prince's understated latest albumWritten by Charlotte Russell on 22nd June 2017
Album Review: Perfume Genius – No Shape
Conrad Duncan explores Perfume Genius' impressive yet messy new album
Back on 2014’s Too Bright, Perfume Genius took a sharp left turn away from the introspective ballads of his early records towards a sound that incorporated elements of glam rock and industrial synth rock. The result was a surprising and often astounding record that explored Hadreas’ sexuality with a more confrontational tone and one that earned him widespread critical acclaim and an enhanced media profile. On No Shape, he continues to explore that topic, alongside his troubled relationship with his own body, but this time he does it with a more welcoming tone. Backed with bright instrumentals, inspired by Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love and Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, Hadreas focuses on transcendence, whether through submission, marital bliss, or the desire to escape the limits of one’s body, to make a record that is easily his most accessible without softening his eccentricities. It’s also his longest, at a comparatively epic 43 minutes, and his most musically diverse.
“No Shape goes out of its way to explore as many territories as possible without completely settling on one in particular
After perfecting his early sound on 2012’s Put Your Back N 2 It, Too Bright was a reinvention that gave Perfume Genius a new lease of life by expanding the possibilities of the project. In light of that success, No Shape goes out of its way to explore as many territories as possible without completely settling on one in particular. It makes for a great collection of songs but as an album it’s his least cohesive work by far. Hadreas’ desire to transcend his current limitations are reflected in the album’s music. The songs on No Shape are his most ambitious and lavishly produced, incorporating string sections and synths on most tracks, and once again they suggest that there’s more to Perfume Genius than what we’d previously thought he was capable of. All of this means that while No Shape is the messiest album in Perfume Genius’ career so far, it’s also another worthy entry in an impressive career.