Linda Perhacs- the soul of all natural things

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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.

It’s the kind of tidy capsule story that makes for an excellent set of liner notes, but it’s worth stepping back and reassessing the phenomenal unlikeliness of the tale now that we’re faced with its follow-up, The Soul of All Natural Things. The gulf separating 1970 from now might be dizzying for some, but Perhacs' sense of time is looser than ours, and it doesn’t seem to phase her.

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.

Keeper NM on Asthmatic Kitty Records including booklet.