The Soul of All Natural Things
Beating the likes of PF Sloan and Vashti Bunyan in the lazy-follow-up stakes, Linda Perhacs offers this album as the sophomore release; her debut Parallelograms was a blatant non-hit back in 1970. Since then Perhacs has been working the day-job as dental hygienist, raising a family, and here she is at 70, following up on the sound she created, a type of psychedelic folk, when she was in her late 20s.
The Soul of All Natural Things is full of new age aphorisms – and in that sense, and in the feeling of a light-but-lovely gravitas attached, it feels a bit like Bill Fay’s recent return from self-imposed exile.
Perhacs has been assisted her by some of her devoted followers, Julia Holter and Romana Gonzalez – but there’s something wonderful and immediate about the voice (both the actual voice and the writing ‘voice’) of Perhacs; that’s enough to tell the stories, to lure you in.
It helps to at least consider the back-story, if not know the original album – kept alive via tape-traders in much the way that albums that never made it by the likes of Gene Clark, Rodriguez, Bunyan and Fay have survived.
So it’s absolutely cult-artist stuff.
I can’t lie – I’m a sucker for these sorts of stories, the idea that someone found it easier to not work at what they wanted to do, or were possibly chosen to do, kept that as a distant dream and knuckled down to achieve at something else, to work with family, and other people, to make something of themselves outside of the punishing desperation around the arts. Or maybe it wasn’t at all easy – it doesn’t seem like an easy option, maybe just a sensible one. Perhaps it was a crippling fear that kept her away, a sense of some failure, a need to move on and away – but here she is. She’s fronted up and offered an album of quiet contemplation. Something really quite beautiful. At any rate Perhacs is in fine voice and there’s something eerie and lovely about so much of The Soul of All Natural Things.
There’s gentility and heart. There’s so much soul in this – and the recording, the clean production, the sparse but just spot-on arrangements. It’s all rather gorgeous, back-story and all…