Home > News & Reviews > Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius - Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (Album Review)

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 Written by Spencer Lawes

Photo: Camille Vivier

The fifth Perfume Genius album is an exploration of sounds stitched together with Mike Hadreas’ usual bleeding edge tenderness. On ‘Set My Heart on Fire Immediately’ he draws inspiration from past strengths while indulging in a stylistic range and sense of sonic diversity that was merely hinted at on 2017’s critically acclaimed ‘No Shape’.

Where previously the music sat back and served Hadreas’ vocals, here it takes the form of stunning tapestries over which his poems are scrawled. Jason is perhaps the finest example of this dynamic. Its lyrics—“Jason undressed me…he did not do the same, even his boots were on.”—portray the excitement and vulnerability of that scene while a harpsichord hook playfully dances in and out of the spotlight.

‘Set My Heart on Fire Immediately’ is a strikingly wide-ranging record, with unexpected shifts in tone making it impossible to stamp a single genre on it.

The vast array of instruments Hadreas calls on is a far cry from the piano-vocal pairing on 2010’s ‘Learning’, with harp arpeggios on Leave, grizzly, distorted guitars on Describe, and grand strings on Whole Life. 

The mood varies dramatically between tracks, as the sensual Your Body Changes Everything precedes the ethereal and mellow Moonbend, and the sombre Leave follows the nominally upbeat Jason.

Sharp turns occur within individual tracks, too, as the slippery Some Dream drifts through a mesmeric dreamscape for over a minute before abruptly morphing into a Naked and Famous-style energetic mid-section, then evolving towards a haunting close.

As a counterpoint to the musical walkabout, thematic threads run deep across multiple tracks, for example the simple agony of being left with just a memory on Just a Touch, One More Try, Describe and Whole Life. The penultimate song, Some Dream, calls back to the album’s opening stanza, in which Hadreas proclaims: “Half of my whole life is gone, let it drift and wash away, it was just a dream I had.” 

‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’ requires as much unpacking as earlier Perfume Genius collections, but with more pleasure to be found along the way. The raw emotions of his first two albums are blended with the fluent hooks and grand instrumentation of his later work, resulting in an intimate and addictive record that will have you in tears one moment and punching the air in triumph the next.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >