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coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 170 - 07/26/10

Perfume Genius
Matador / Playground

Perfume Genius is Seattle, WA musician Mike 'Genius' Hadreas, a bedroom vocal/piano man ballad-maker, who's making his debut with Learning. The album holds ten songs, presented in the same order they were composed; track 1 being the oldest, track 10 being the newest. He's been described by The Guardian as: 'Anthony Hegarty getting a glo-fi makeover'. From the trivia files: "Mike Hadreas lives with his mum and likes to appear in press shots 'covered in colourful bruises' (because he's not just damaged inside)".

This is really fragile pop, even more fragile than, say, Radical Face, another huge favourite of mine. The songs of Perfume Genius are indeed stripped down. You might also compare this to early Bright Eyes, but where Conor Oberst's music sounds very angst-ridden, there's a warmth in Hadreas' songs. Maybe Bon Iver could be another name to mention, even though their voices are far from each other. Or even Radiohead's/Thom Yorke's more stripped down compositions. Yes, even Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird somehow springs to mind as mood'n'musical relatives. Perfume Genius' music are more on the elfish, angel-like side. These are bedroom pop ballads from the perfectly fluffy dreams (half good, half bad) department. It's easy to find favourite tracks on Learning, such as the brilliant title track, the sad and dramatic "Mr. Petersen", "You Won't B Here", "No Problem", "When", "Perry", and the closing "Never Did". In fact there aren't many (if any) weak links on Learning.

Learning is a stunning record, but maybe not music for the summer season. Yet, the songs are perfectly ripe, and I guess they'll only turn better and better as the darker and colder seasons appear. Another boy wonder has arrived.

Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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

© 2011 Luna Kafé