44 years in the making, Linda Perhacs and her fans have endured a long wait between her first and second albums but The Soul of All Natural Things is one of the most beautiful and appreciative albums I’ve listened to in quite a while.
The title track opens the album and introduces Linda’s clean, soft and crisp vocals. She reminds me of a softer Karen Carpenter. She has a clarity that means she simply hits the note and it feels effortless. Around her are succulent acoustic guitars and warm keyboard pads that bathe more complex synths that hide underneath. There’s a lovely flamenco section too which blends in effortlessly. “Children” is a sweet track that wears its smile in its skip and carefully plucked guitar strings. The piano and strings add a vintage accent to the track that make it feel like you’re accessing the past. It also calls on her psychedelic side, which this album carries quietly as instruments shimmer and glisten in the sun. “River of God” continues the outflowing of love in a celestial fashion with organs and muffled percussion providing a rumble for various vocal melodies. There are dual vocals and other vocal melodies in the background and it comes together in a warm chorus that you can’t help but get lost in. It’s cleverly understated yet undeniably beautiful.
“Daybreak” is laid back delight as the drums trickle and the airy guitar is left to permeate around Linda’s voice. It’s like a day at the beach. “Intensity” is the flipside as Perhacs reiterates “No one said this life would be easy” as the song picks itself into a rolling tumble of guitars and drums. The track see’s Linda’s voice take on a more harsh tone as she is layered over herself – it’s a fantastic track. “Freely” is the single that focuses on the more haunting side of the music which bears its head here more than anywhere else. It’s almost entirely acoustic guitar, piano and vocal but it holds its space as three minutes of utter magic. The guitars have so many layers to them, as do the vocals, it makes a collage of sound that belies the effort underneath.
“Prisms of Glass” is like a slightly eerie kaleidoscope of dreams. The keyboards, the electric piano and the spooky backing vocals come together to make a sedate but unsettling track. “Immunity” is the pacey track on the album as the percussive loops march to Linda’s laments over the working day before it opens up for the hypnotic chorus to shower love and thanks for her life. It’s never preachy – it’s just a literal “thank you” and that it such a rarity to hear, it makes me embrace the album more. “When Things Are True Again” is equal sweet and devastatingly sad. The track is also the only one that feels like it was written and produced in the 70’s as it feels very much of that era. “Song of the Planets” closes the album is a drone like track of keyboards and vocals that has a celestial otherworld quality to it as it starts tripping out with lots of backwards music and a male monologue.
Linda Perhacs needs to not wait another 44 years for album number three. This is destined to become another cult classic like her debut but I’d much rather people knew about this and bought it now. It’s one of the most uplifting albums I’ve enjoyed listening to on repeat for years. A marriage of acoustic peace and pristine vocals has been made.