God save Mike Hadreas. The Seattle native behind Perfume Genius brings a no-we-actually-could-be-royals audacity to “Queen,” the first single from newly announced album Too Bright (due out September 23 in the United States via Matador — pre-order here).
The lyrical assault on homophobia is ambitious enough, as Hadreas warns that “no family is safe, when I sashay” in between weapons-grade rhetoricals: “Don’t you know your queen?” But the singer/songwriter known for poignantly candid piano ballads on his first two albums, most recently including 2012′s Put Your Back N 2 It, has also greatly expanded his musical palette. With richly textured synths, crashing percussion and chant-like backing vocals, Hadreas’ latest is a rare political anthem that would be thoroughly arresting even without the words. And the album as a whole, in another promising sign, was recorded with Portishead‘s Adrian Utley; P.J. Harvey‘s career-long collaborator John Parish plays on multiple tracks.
If none of that has piqued your interest, leave it to Hadreas himself. Too Bright, he said in a statement, explores “an underlying rage that has slowly been growing since age 10 and has just begun to bubble up.” As for “Queen”? It’s addressed, he said, toward those “faces of blank fear when I walk by … if these fucking people want to give me some power — if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles — well, here she comes.” Ladies and gentlemen, your “Queen.”
Check out Perfume Genius’ tour dates here and scroll down for the album tracklist.
Perfume Genius, Too Bright (September 23/22; Matador/Turnstile)
1. I Decline
4. No Good
5. My Body
6. Don’t Let Them In
9. I’m a Mother
10. Too Bright
11. All Along