Perfume Genius - 'Ugly Season'

8/10

Since his emergence with the brilliant 2010 debut LP 'Learning', US artist Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius spent much of his early beginnings on the peripheries of the outer alternative pop realm. His broad and passionate textures earned him countless accolades, but since the release of his 2020 studio collection 'Set My Heart on Fire Immediately', he has found himself in more demand than ever and built an impressively devout fanbase as a result. Now returning with his sixth album 'Ugly Season', he looks to recapture the ethereal tendencies of his earlier self and bring a more emotionally-charged effort to the forefront.

Perfume Genius has always looked to harness an enigmatic and chameleonic identity, but on 'Ugly Season', we see him in one of his most transcendent guises to date. Largely made up of bold and atmospheric works that present him at his rawest moments, we see him rebuild the captivating name of his infancy, and offering up something a world away from his last full-length. With a sparse approach to instrumentation and production, his eerie vocals spread themselves throughout this humble yet euphoric release, channelling some beautifully riveting and inventive ideals throughout.

It may not be the return that fans of his previous album were expecting, but 'Ugly Season' showcases Perfume Genius at his most adventurous. Wistful and magnetic all at once, he builds this brilliantly enticing world of sonic appeal around him, leading us down an avenue of sweet yet haunted aesthetics that sound like no one else right now.

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