Linda Perhacs – 'The Soul of All Natural Things' album review

After 44 years, the legendary psych-folk singer returns for a patchy second album



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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

‘My music isn’t just recreational,’ insisted 70-year-old singer-songwriter Linda Perhacs on announcing the eagerly awaited follow-up to her 1970 debut album 'Parallelograms' – a cult classic and a favourite of Devendra Banhart and the acid-folk set. ‘I have a deeper purpose. My soul is giving itself to the people.’

It’s precisely this kind of proud, preachy earth-mother grandstanding that’ll divide audiences for ‘The Soul of All Natural Things’. You’ll either swoon under its cosmic spell, or run screaming for some noisy, dirty relief into the arms of Fat White Family. Or, like us, you may find yourself torn between these two extremes, thrilling to Perhacs’s crystalline vocal purity and the fragile acoustic backing, while trying not to wince at some clunky turns of phrase (‘river of God, how you fill up the sky, river of God, you’re much greater than I’) and a queasy tendency towards trebly, digitised overproduction.

The result is an album whose highlights – the tempo-shifting title track with its sparkling Spanish guitar frills; the lapping, droney closer ‘Song of the Planets’ – contrast starkly with nail-biting travesties like synth-’n’-slap-bass horror ‘Intensity’, with its mantra of ‘we’re livin’ on the edge, playin’ on the edge’. Linda, you’re really not.

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