LINDA PERHACS-THE SOUL OF ALL NATURAL THINGS.
LINDA PERHACS-THE SOUL OF ALL NATURAL THINGS.
Back in 1970, twenty-seven year old dental hygienist Linda Perhacs released her debut album Parallelograms. It was released to critical acclaim, but sadly, this psychedelic folk classic wasn’t the huge commercial success it should’ve been. Despite this, many people within the music industry forecasted a great future for Linda Perhacs. No wonder.
Parallelograms is a beautiful, understated and enchanting album. From the opening bars of Chimacum Rain, right through to the closing notes of Delicious, it’s a captivating listen. Linda’s tender vocal and gently plucked guitar have you spellbound. The result was hopeful music that’s ethereal and dreamy. With baited breath, music industry insiders and music fans awaited the followup to Parallelograms.
A year passed, and there was no sign of the followup to Parallelograms. Linda was still working as a dental nurse. Two and three years passed, still there was no sign of another album from Linda. Three years became five, and five became ten and ten became twenty. Fans of Linda of Perhacs’ had all but given up hope of Linda releasing another album. They cherished their copies of Parallelograms, and watched as twenty, thirty and forty years passed. Then earlier this year, the wait was over. Forty-four years after Linda Perhacs released Parallelograms, she was about to release the followup The Soul Of All Natural Things.
The Soul Of All Natural Things was released on Asthmatic Kitty Records on 24th March 2014. Nervously, music lovers counted down the days. Then after being postponed by a week, The Soul Of All Natural Things was released. Music lovers breathed a sigh of relief, once they had a copy of The Soul Of All Natural Things in their hands. As they settled down to listen to The Soul Of All Natural Things, many wondered where Linda had been?
Following the release of Parallelograms, Linda returned to her job as a dental nurse. Much as she loved music, Linda didn’t seem to have the drive required to make a career as a musician. She did, however, have the talent. Despite that, she continued to work as a dental hygienist. Linda also continued to observe human nature and the world around her. Maybe, in the back of her mind, she was collecting ideas for her sophomore album. However, it’s been as Sam Cooke sung “a long time coming.”
Having spent her career working as a dental hygienist, Linda decided to make her musical comeback. She’d spent a lifetime observing people and the world. This meant she’d a wealth of material for her not just her sophomore album, but a series of albums. However, first things first, Linda had to get round to releasing the follow to Parallelograms. This would become The Soul Of All Natural Things.
For The Soul Of All Natural Things, Linda wrote four tracks and cowrote the other six tracks. She penned The Soul Of All Natural Things, Intensity, Prisms of Glass and Song of the Planets. Linda and Chris Price wrote Children. They also cowrote River of God, Freely, Immunity and Song of the Planets with Fernando Perdomo. Fernando and Linda collaborated on Daybreak. These ten tracks became The Soul Of All Natural Things, which was recorded between September 2012 and April 2013.
Recording of The Soul Of All Natural Things took place at Reseda Ranch Studios, Reseda in California. The sessions took place between September 2012 and April 2013. Accompanying Linda were a band that included Chris Price on backing vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, programming and effects. Fernando Perdomo contributed bass, guitars, keyboards and percussion. Julia Holter and Ramona Gonzales added vocals and keyboards. They were joined by artists that only featured on one or some tracks. Among them, were Derek Cintron on cajon, drummer Dave Goodstein and Ryan Holquist on drums and percussion. Adding strings were Eric Summer, Kate Reddish and Kaitlin Wolfberg. Producing The Soul Of All Natural Things were Chris Price, Fernando Perdomo and Linda. Once The Soul Of All Natural Things was completed, Linda’s long-awaited sophomore album was released on 24th March 2014. Was The Soul Of All Natural Things worth the wait?
Opening The Soul of All Natural Things is the title-track. Just a gently plucked acoustic guitar is part of a wash of wistful music. This forms the backdrop for Linda’s tender, breathy vocal as she delivers the pensive lyrics. Gone is the hope of Parallelograms. The world is a very different place. Linda’s voice is full of pain as she realises this. Ethereal harmonies, handclaps and stings sweep in, while the bass provides a contrast to her pained vocal. They play their part in a track that’s emotive, cerebral and soul searching. Forty-four years may have passed since Parallelograms, but Linda proves class is permanent.
Children meanders into being. Just acoustic guitar, subtle keyboards and strings combine with Linda’s gentle vocal. She almost whispers the vocal, while angelic harmonies cascade. The lyrics are much more hopeful. Especially, the lines: it’s the wisdom they have that they’re here to show us the way.”
A crescendo of ethereal music proves a curveball as River of God unfolds. Drums, cascading harmonies and Linda’s delicate vocal combines. Sometimes, the drums threaten to overpower the vocal. Gradually, her vocal grows in power and emotion. Accompanied by harmonies and crystalline guitars a bewitching and beautiful track reveals its secrets.
Daybreak is reminiscent of Linda’s debut album Parallelograms. Accompanied by acoustic guitar and percussion, Linda paints pictures as she sings. So much so, you can picture the dawn breaking and two lovestruck lovers watching the Daybreak. Her vocal breathy vocal breathes life and meaning into the lyrics, which have a cinematic quality. As for the song, it’s jazz-tinged beauty with a timeless quality.
Intensity is very different to everything that’s gone before. You’ve no idea what’s about to unfold. Especially when ethereal, cooing harmonies drift in. Then Linda is accompanied by keyboards. The arrangement floats in, growing in power and Intensity. It draws inspiration from folk, classic rock and psychedelia. Linda’s vocal is dreamy and lysergic. What’s fitting is when Linda sings: “we’re living on the edge, playing on the edge.” That describes how where Linda and her band are playing as they create innovative, genre-melting music with a late-sixties influence.
Freely sees a return to the folk-tinged sound of earlier tracks. Quickly, you realise that this is one of The Soul of All Natural Things highlights. Wistfully, hopefully and with a vocal full longing Linda sings: “I want to be free, with you.” Accompanying Linda’s needy and hopeful vocal is an understated arrangement. It’s ying to Linda’s yang.
Prisms of Glass is another spacious, ethereal sounding track. The arrangement is essentially washes of ambient music. It unfolds in waves. In some ways, it’s akin to waves breaking on a beach. Meanwhile, harmonies cascade and are the perfect accompaniment to Linda’s airy vocal. Occasional drums punctuate the arrangement, but it’s Linda’s vocal and the crystalline harmonies that steal the show.
Immunity allows you to hear a different side to Linda. Here, she sounds not unlike Suzanne Vega. That’s because her vocal is louder and stronger. As drums play, and the bass helps propel the arrangement along. Straight away, there’s an urgency to Linda’s vocal. Especially when she sings. “every day we work a little harder…faster…more.” Then when she sings: “thank you for the love that flows,” you can sense she means it. There’s a sincerity in her vocal, which is softer and full of emotion. Although quite different to other tracks, it has one thing in common, it’s undeniable quality.
There’s an almost space-age introduction to When Things Are True Again. After this angelic harmonies and percussion combine during the spacey arrangement. Linda’s vocal is fragile, but grows in power. Confusion and frustration are combined with emotion by Linda, as keyboards, guitar and strings add to the drama. Harmonies play an important role. They’re the perfect foil for Linda’s vocal wistful vocal as the arrangement becomes understated. This allows you to concentrate on Linda’s vocal and the lyrics which are some of the best on The Soul of All Natural Things.
Song of the Planets closes The Soul of All Natural Things. It’s best described as a cosmic song of praise. Here, Linda’s praying for the future of the world. It’s changed beyond recognition since 1970, when Linda released Parallelograms. A choir of lysergic angels, keyboards and strings which are treated with effects provide the backdrop to Linda’s mysterious, hopeful vocal. Later, an otherworldly spoken-word vocal is added. This works, setting the scene for Linda to bring this lysergic, hymnal to a hopeful high.
Although forty-four years have passed since Linda Perhacs released her debut album Parallelograms, she’s picked up where she left off on The Soul of All Natural Things. Accompanied by some of the best young musicians Los Angeles has to offer, they’ve played their part in a flawless fusion of folk, pop and psychedelia. There’s even diversions via ambient, experimental, jazz and drone pop. That comes courtesy of Chris Price and Fernando Perdomo who co-produced The Soul of All Natural Things with Linda Perhacs, whose now aged seventy.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since 1970 and the release of Parallelograms, but Linda hasn’t lost her mojo. Far from it. Just like Parallelograms, The Soul of All Natural Things which was released on Asthmatic Kitty Records on 24th March 2014, is an album of flawless, timeless music. That begs the question, why did Linda wait so long?
Maybe, after the commercial failure of Parallelograms, Linda lost her appetite for music? Who knows? She certainly admits to not being the most driven musician. That’s a great pity, as she has so much potential. She could’ve enjoyed a long and successful career. Especially, with the Laurel Canyon scene so popular so popular when Linda released Parallelograms. Sadly, for whatever reason, Linda didn’t enjoy the critical acclaim and commercial success her talent deserved. Maybe, belatedly, Linda Perhacs’ career will enjoy an Indian Summer? Let’s hope that’s the case. Who knows, maybe Linda will record a followup to The Soul of All Natural Things, which has been a long time coming, has been well worth the wait. Standout Tracks: River of God, Daybreak, Freely and Prisms Of Glass.
LINDA PERHACS-THE SOUL OF ALL NATURAL THINGS.