Perfume Genius - Ugly Season

Regular price $ 36.99

When Perfume Genius' Mike Hadreas worked with choreographer Kate Wallich on the dance piece The Sun Still Burns Here, it revolutionized his relationship with his body and his music. Listeners got the first indication of how powerful these changes were with 2020's brilliant Set My Heart on Fire Immediately; with Ugly Season, they get even closer to the source of this transformation. Hadreas' sixth album is largely based on his music for The Sun Still Burns Here, and like all of his work, offers a fascinating dance of vulnerability, strength, and how they intersect. He's well-equipped to explore the musical and emotional complexities on pieces like "Teeth," which uses cut crystal chromatic percussion, pizzicato strings, soprano saxophone, and his highest falsetto vocals to blur pain and beauty together until they're unrecognizable from each other. Ugly Season's detailed instrumentation evokes the choreography at the heart of The Sun Still Burns Here: "Herem," which moves from fluttering woodwinds and sinewy upright bass to sacred blasts of organ to an elastic electronic beat and tabla, suggests all the different shapes a mass of bodies can take over its seven-minute sweep, as do the jabbing piano and scrabbling strings of "Scherzo," which reflects Ugly Season at its most challenging. While the album is rooted in the artiest realms of Perfume Genius' music, it's still connected to the subversive pop that made No Shape and Set My Heart on Fire Immediately so compellingly catchy. As its name implies, "Pop Song" boils down that sound to its broadest strokes, yet there's still plenty of power and mystery in its swooning melody and jungly beat. "Eye in the Wall," another of Ugly Season's most immediate tracks, is a taut nighttime seduction with an extended percussive passage that reminds listeners this is dance music in its most literal sense, while "Photograph"'s smoldering pop encompasses the extremes of beauty and rawness that coexist in Perfume Genius' music. Hadreas dives into the deep end of that rawness with "Hellbent," a cathartic blast of synths, guitars, and mechanical beats that rivals Suicide in its electro-punk fury. It's in this discomfort zone that his art thrives: Ugly Season is a powerful statement as both an album and a score for a dance piece, and its intertwining of self-expression and healing is peak Perfume Genius.

A1 Just A Room 3:30
A2 Herem 7:22
A3 Teeth 4:14
B4 Pop Song 5:06
B5 Scherzo 3:51
B6 Ugly Season 4:41
C7 Eye In The Wall 8:43
C8 Photograph 4:42
D9 Hellbent 6:42
D10 Cenote 3:33