In Review: Perfume Genius - Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

Haunting, poetic, and gifted with delicacy, Mike Hadreas’ fifth album reminds us to look back, let go, and always remember to dream.
Posted: 27 May 2020 Words: Georgia Spanos

Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius is one of the few artists whose lyrics sink to the deepest knots of my heart. His latest album Set My Heart On Fire Immediately once again reaches those spots. It’s been a sweet decade since his chilling 2010 debut album Learning was released, with his latest creation being slightly more joyous. Nonetheless, they share similar charms.

‘Whole Life’ sits as the opening track setting a delicate pace to the album; a perfect greeting from the theatrical Perfume Genius. “Half of my whole life is gone, let it drift and wash away” he shares in perfect harmony as we become aware that this album may be more retrospective than the rest. A feeling of ‘letting go’ is encouraged, as soothing strums of guitar and talk of dreams let us feel completely enthralled by this freedom.

‘Describe’ is immediately heavier with distorted bass, although the twinkling guitar hints a country feel and lifts the track along with us. Then, the song turns again, with soft synth sounds and whispers eliciting goosebumps as the sounds fades away. Just like a dream. The song ‘Without You’ is inspired by a short-lived moment when Mike Hadreas genuinely liked what he saw in the mirror. We learn this track echoes the struggle with image, something we have all been victim of. The creation is smooth and faint, ending with “you know it’s been such a long long time, without you”.

‘Jason’ immediately sounds as a one night stand to never be forgotten, while ‘Leave’ puts on a metallic goth outfit. We are reminded here that this album sinks into many hearts of music. Then there’s ‘Moonbend’, leaning back to Perfume Genius’ early creations; heavily poetic while spells and craft fill the rest of the space. This could easily be your new lullaby. There's a change of heart in 'Nothing at All', its distorted mess and ascending/descending keys, while the watery guitar in ‘One More Try’ makes us dream again. 

Finale ‘Borrowed Light’ brings a meditative and devastating close to the album, reminding us with lyrics “just let that old thing die” to be free of your past — but don’t forget to dream.

To hear more from Perfume Genius, click here.

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