I stumbled across a Top 50 albums of 2017 list that was published on a website in July. No reason to share, so far the returns have been a big yawn, except for this tune.
Just to get this out of the way, I think Perfume Genius is a terrible, perhaps career wrecking, band name (even if this is a single artist taking a collective name). The artist’s real name is Mike Hadreas, which is better I think, but whatever. It’s his choice.
His latest album is called No Shape, and I’d suggest that the record lacks shape. It has too many spare slow songs that don’t really go anywhere, even when they’re adorned with interesting rhythms and strong singing. Maybe more listens will reveal more. If there are more listens it will be because of the song Just Like Love.
It has that Chris Isaac reverb and a little Willy DeVille strut. It sounds like the fifties, like Roy Orbison (and Isaac and DeVille), and it sounds contemporary, not nostalgic. Or maybe it’s on other songs, where he can sound like Prince and at other times like David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, that he doesn’t sound nostalgic. Ultimately, this is an art band, and in the case of Just Like Love, often the best art steals from the best sources.
Hadreas is from Seattle, but lived for a number of years in Williamsburg and worked in an East Village bar. I hope he adopted his nom de tunes because he knows that when the New York Times writes about him, on the second reference to his name, they’ll have to call him Mr. Genius. Aim high!
Update: Original post called Perfume Genius Patrick Hadreas. His given name is actually Mike. I fixed it.
Worth Noting: The album track and the live track are arranged similarly, but the album track is sonically very different. The music on the album is electronic and layered track upon track. The live version captures the shape of the song, but is a much more organic version than the album version. This is not an indictment of the album.
This is a Google Music link to the album track. I don’t know what happens if you’re not a Google Music subscriber. https://play.google.com/music/m/T3coz2krxwyb7s5jzkgwd73txpm?t=Just_Like_Love_-_Perfume_Genius
This perfume reeks of Bryan Ferry. If I’d have heard this blind, I’d have thought, “that’s GOTTA be Bryan Ferry, but it’s NOT Bryan Ferry.”