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Too Bright

Perfume Genius

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Album Review

In some ways, Perfume Genius' intimate, unflinching balladry reached its logical conclusion on Put Your Back N 2 It. On that deceptively gentle collection of songs, Mike Hadreas' songwriting gained more agency while opening the door to the possibilitieshe explores to the fullest on Too Bright. With the help of Portishead's Adrian Utley and PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, Hadreas marries his razor-sharp observations with omnivorous music that gives him even more range. If he was empowered on Put Your Back N 2 It, now he's just powerful: on "Queen"'s stately, futuristic glam rock, he subverts homophobia into an alluring weapon as he sings "no family is safe when I sashay" as a proud and predatory monarch. His portraits of victimization are even more vividly drawn as well. "Fool" is a biting examination of the gay best friend as the ultimate accessory to a stylish straight woman's life, setting lyrics like "I made your dress/I'm bleeding out/On the couch you bought/That I picked out" to soulful, finger-snapping pop. Too Bright gives the lushness of Hadreas' previous music fangs and claws, and some of the album's best moments are the most unsettling. "My Body"'s eerie, shuddering physicality invokes the spirit of Harvey's Rid of Me; like that album's highlights, it's equally terrifying and addictive. Things get even more feral on "Grid" and "Longpig," which evokes the Knife with its detached synths and body horror imagery. And while Hadreas' ballads play a supporting role, they feel even more striking and unguarded as they span tender vignettes such as the title track and the heartbreaking "Don't Let Them In," where he sings "In an alternate ribbon of time/My dances were sacred/And my lisp was evidence that I spoke for both spirits" with a raw eloquence that rivals anything on Learning or Put Your Back N 2 It. Equally bold, vulnerable, concise, and expansive, Too Bright dazzles.

Customer Reviews

Solid, lyrically “genius”, just so great!

Hit repeat on Queen, Fool, and Don’t Let Them In. The others are slowly growing, but so far amazing. Just… wow.


Born: Everett, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The nom de musique of Seattle's Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius began when he moved from New York to his mother's home in Everett, Washington. In these relatively isolated conditions, Hadreas felt a compulsion to make music and began composing fragile yet brutally honest songs on the piano. By 2008 he had set up a MySpace page and began offering his music there, along with similarly spare and evocative homemade music videos. His work caught the attention of Los Campesinos!, who championed Perfume Genius...
Full Bio
Too Bright, Perfume Genius
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