The first time we heard Learning by Perfume Genius we almost didn’t listen again. It was a record that sounded sleight, rather pathetic and lacking in any melodic grace. Yet a number of months on, the album is in our top 10 of the year, having slowly wormed its way into our heart.
Learning is a sad, sparse and vulnerable record. Each listen seems almost voyeuristically wrong. Melancholic songs formed from simple piano or electronic arrangements and the weedy but affecting vocal of Mike Hadreas are given a lo-fi bedroom production which adds to the sense of uneasy closeness. The disturbing and intimate Mr Peterson, a song about a teacher Hadreas appears to have had a relationship with begins “He let me smoke weed in his truck, if I could convince him I loved him enough,” before pulling out one of the albums most shocking lines. “He made me a tape of Joy Division. He told me there was part of him missing. When I was 16, he jumped off a building.”
Learning is certainly not the party album of the year. It’s the angsty, fragile and rawness of its whole that makes it such a brilliantly affecting album. We’re glad we gave it time.
Mr. Peterson by TurnstileMusic