No Shape, LP | Perfume Genius | 2017
by Duncan Holahan
No Shape, Perfume Genius' fourth studio album, opens with the raw, emotional sound we've now come to expect from Mike Hadreas. That's not to say that this is a bad thing. Rather, the experience is much like rewatching Black Swan: you know you'll come close to crying, but the ability to feel so much in such a short time is cathartic. From beginning to end, swelling with inspirational tracks like "Just Like Love" where Hadreas sings about a cross-dressing youth, encouraging them to "hold on and stare them down," and dipping into dark reflection in ones such as "Valley," where the artist admits to considering suicide to escape the ever present itch of a past drug addiction, No Shape runs a gamut of emotions and experiences. Despite the two and a half years between albums, Perfume Genius proves their true genius exists in their ever evolving ability to make the listener identify with situations that they, as either queer or non-queer folk, may not have experienced.