LINDA PERHACS “The Soul Of All Natural Things” CD

$25.00 Inc GST

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Linda Perhacs is easily the most celebrated dental hygienist to ever have recorded a classic psychedelic folk album. That album, 1970’s Parallelograms, has persisted over decades, even as Perhacs herself moved on with her life after the record failed and copies of it slowly disappeared from print. The people who heard it, though, did not move on. They made their own editions and passed the album to those they deemed worthy. One of those people was the leader of the prog-metal band Opeth, who did as much as anyone to keep copies of Parallelograms circulating. A legend built. Eventually, someone notified Perhacs.

The Soul Of All Natural Things was made with several of Perhacs’ contemporary admirers helping her; Julia Holter appears on “Prisms of Glass”, and Ramona Gonzalez contributes backing vocals. The resulting album has a fluid, communal energy to it that feels very different from Parallelograms. Perhacs’ voice is duskier at 70 than it was at 27, but her range is still surprising, dipping into sultry contralto and leaping easily into higher registers. Her ear for multi-tracked harmonies remains the clearest link back to her first album, and you can hear her quizzical and highly original musical mind operating through them. It’s easy to find in them the sound that bewitched latter-day followers like Holter.

The best moments are when the song forms fracture a little, and Perhacs’ multi-tracked voice is allowed to spiral free. “Prisms of Glass” and “Freely”, two songs in the middle of the record, capture more genuine spiritual feeling with the haunting sound of Perhacs’ interlocking vocals than anything else on the album. On “Song of the Planets”, her voice blurs into a repetition of the words “one” and “sun,” creating the blissful synthesis that the lyrics can only point to. The Soul of All Natural Things is sumptuously recorded and often beautiful, and honestly, it’s wonderful to have it. If it’s difficult to envision a 44-year cult of devotion arising from its songs, well, once in this lifetime is probably enough for that kind of achievement.