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

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

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.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Listen to 'The Soul of All Natural Things' on Spotify

Read more album reviews

Albums of the Week

John Grant, Fetty Wap, Rudimental and Shopping

Albums of the Week

Kwabs, Battles, Ought and Duran Duran

Albums of the Week

The Libertines, Miley Cyrus, Max Richter and Dam-Funk

Albums of the Week

Beach House, Dr Dre, Yo La Tengo and more

Read more Time Out album reviews

Watch the video for 'Prisms of Glass'

Read more music features

Time Out readers' top songs of 2015

We love discovering new music that hits that special spot, so we asked some #takeovertimeout contributors: what’s your top song of 2015 so far?

Arcade Fire on teashops, London and ‘The Reflektor Tapes’

Time Out reader Joe Presley discovers five things you didn’t know about Arcade Fire

Disclosure on Sam Smith’s ring, toilet reading and ‘Caracal’

Guy and Howard Lawrence tell Time Out reader Hannah Ashraf about their new album and becoming more than just a dance band

One to Watch: Wet

Time Out reader Sarah Taylor explains why this Brooklyn trio are ones to watch

Why I love Cadogan Hall

Time Out reader Jaime Tung explores the magic of an intimate concert hall in Chelsea

See all Time Out music features