Album #126: Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
  • Label: Matador
  • Best Track: Describe

I’m not at all familiar with the work of Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, but with his Wikipedia profile saying his music “explores topics including sexuality, his personal struggle with Crohn’s disease, domestic abuse, and the dangers faced by gay men in contemporary society”, I thought his new fifth album (released last Friday) sounded interesting enough to merit a listen.

Instantly, because of the slight quiver in his voice and the lyrical themes, Hadreas reminds me a lot of Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stuart. His sounds are rather more conventional and radio friendly however.

I like it too. Favourite tracks include the ’80s-ised procession of ‘Describe’, the jarring keyboards of ‘Some Dream’ and the ‘yeah yeah yeahs’ of ‘Nothing at All’, which features the intriguing lyric “I got what you want, babe/I got what you need, son”.

Not every track is quite my bag, but Set My Heart on Fire Immediately is a well put together record that makes for a fascinating, and at times troubling, listen.

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