On Mike Hadreas’ 4th album under the moniker Perfume Genius, No Shape is a grandiose album bursting with inner-confidence and beauty. Further exploring identity, this is his most realized work yet and it’s one of pure transcendental love and devotion. Similar to a collection of prayers, the first track “Otherside” is a hymn, it starts with graceful piano notes, and then suddenly explodes boasting the bold instrumental production of the whole album. The lyrics themselves are also quite spiritual as Hadreas’ relationship with religion has always been a bit complicated due to his own sexuality. “Slip Away” was the first single released, and it’s a protest against those that say a love is devious or not natural being very pure and true. The track being bittersweet, the forbidden love refers to Hadreas being gay within an unaccepting world. But later, on ‘Go Ahead’ he boasts confidence in the lyrics and challenges all those who look down upon him, tempting them to tear him down as he repeats “Go ahead and try” throughout the song. The first half of ‘No Shape’ carries with it a sense of excitement, joy and ecstasy, however in the second half, the tone shifts almost to a disembodied state, one that lingers of claustrophobia. The track “Die 4 You” was the second single and resembles this through asphyxiating language, willingly giving everything even if it suffocates you because of it. As well as the track ‘Sides’ being written from a different point of view than his own, believing that his drifting mind can be troublesome for others, as well as shuts out his boyfriend. The album then finishes with the song ‘Alan’, which is simply a love song titled to his boyfriend and bandmate, as Hadreas sings for their mutual need and devotion to one another. ‘No Shape’ truly is an album of love, praising the beauty of being confident in who you are on the inside, along with it’s sincerity it easily becomes his most clear and transcendental work to date.
Recommended If You Like: Blood Orange, How To Dress Well, St. Vincent, Dirty Projectors
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Slip Away), 7 (Die 4 You), 1 (Other Side), 6 (Wreath)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Grant Martin on 08/29/2017