Album of the Week: Perfume Genius, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

Mike Hadreas as Perfume Genius makes confoundingly beautiful music.

Strings swing under and over Hadreas’ near Orbison-esque falsetto and the next thing you know things go low and lower still with Hadreas growling along with grungy guitar. Harmonium, saxophone, steel guitar, country twang, power pop hooks, a touch of the baroque, all join forces to propel these sweet and sour songs toward escape.

On “Your Body Changes Everything,” Hadreas pleads, “Give me your weight, I’m solid/Hold me up, I’m falling down” which could stand in for the overarching theme of Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. These are tight, well-crafted songs appearing like old friends only to shape-shift from one genre reference to another leaving the listener delightfully off balance — Hadreas pulls us in with the familiar then sets us free (falling) with the unexpected.

From Hadreas:

I wanted to feel more open, more free and spiritually wild,” says Hadreas, “and I’m in a place now where those feelings are very close — but it can border on being unhinged. I wrote these songs as a way to be more patient, more considered — to pull at all these chaotic threads hovering around me and weave them in to something warm, thoughtful and comforting.

To my mind, he’s accomplished the task and then some. Set My Heart On Fire Immediately is confoundingly beautiful music.