Throughout all of indie, there are few artists like Perfume Genius. His music not only has its own special charm to it, but its packed with the sorrow of his past. Perfume Genius gets intimate in No Shape, in a stronger way than he has before.
Right at the dawn of the record, you know you're in for something powerful. Opener 'Otherside' is a beautiful track, it's gentle piano intro and aching harmonies slowly crooning above the innocent body of the track before exploding into one glorious burst of emotion at the end. 'Slip Away' follows through with a more energetic composition, its synths more grand and its percussion pounding epically. This song grows and grows into a real anthem, Perfume Genius's vocals sounding wonderful.
There are a lot of different sounds to No Shape. There's the gentle side that has a tad more genuinity to it, and the energetic side with more expressiveness to it. Songs like 'Just Like Love' fall right in between the two, the jolly synths carrying the lowkey vocals in a sweet track. The jumpy 'Go Ahead' follows the trend, its jagged percussion and slowly growing instrumental building an innocent and almost insecure sound, as Perfume Genius retorts "Go ahead / Go ahead try." As the record comes to an end, it gets a bit more energetic, most notably in songs like 'Sides,' the guitar crying out in the beginning as the song comes into its groovy stature and feminine vocals assist the end, offering a different timbre to the record.
No Shape is defined most effectively by its intimate and climactic moments, though. 'Every Night' is one such track that really embodies the sound and feeling of the record. It begins with a gentle guitar and falsetto vocals that reverberate throughout the cavern that feels like Perfume Genius' heart. It's ethereal nature is backed by the slowly shimmering synths that peruse the background. It is followed by the epic, cinematic orchestra of 'Choir,' which is unfortunately marred by the ending vocals but still sounds huge. 'Die 4 You' is another song full of emotion, it's pretty atmosphere not compromising drive. The drama of 'Run Me Through' is worth a mention too, with its dark melodies and swelling, creepy synths.
Perfume Genius gets intimate in No Shape in a powerful way. It's an emotional record that continues to battle his past while still looking towards the future with optimism. This is an artist who turned their pain into art and truly became a real artist.
Favorite Tracks: Die 4 You, Every Night, Otherside, Run Through Me
Least Favorite Track: Go Ahead
Rating: 83 / 100
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