Styles: folk, psych, blues
Others: Vashti Bunyan, Josephine Foster, Donovan, Nick Drake
Thanks Kieran Hebden. Thanks and no-thanks as well. You're gonna make my cave-dwelling internet pillaging something I can no longer put aside when writing about music. Like many, many things I've discovered in the past few years, I found both your Late Night Tales mix and Parallelograms illegally on-line.
Do I feel guilty about it? Not exactly. But the pseudo-professional position I'm in has readers occasionally sending in e-mails saying "did you even bother to look at the liner notes?" And thanks to hard to get titles like this one (unless you want to slap down $30 or higher on Amazon) your deep desire to share the magic with the world is tempered by the hesitance to tell music fans to get out there and start thieving (or to not be a flipping hypocrite, tell folks to "Pick this one up!").
"Parallelograms" stood out to me in a major way on Late Night Tales. So much so that it made me forget the fascinating selections surrounding it. I just HAD to get this album. Even if it's a stretch to say the person I downloaded it from was a buddy, I think anyone sharing this album must feel the way I do about it. One could argue that those who would really dig this sort of thing have already found it. So there's no need for TMT not to wait till the next reissue (there've been two so far). But this is the DeLorean, and this album isn't necessarily geared towards those who listen to Four Tet. And yet, P-Fork did a review some years back, and she's been hyped up by current folk luminairies like Devendra Banhart. But there must be some of you that are unaware of the release.
So now I can do what I came here for, to gush like the blubbering, music eating goblin I am. This album is pure magic. Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day (nope, didn't buy that one either) was great, but there's considerably more to these songs. They are fleshier and, lyrically, decidedly less Renaissance Fair-like, if that sort of thing gives you pause. The production is more involving and, at times, like on "Chimacum Rain" the title track, trippy. "Sandy Goes" is my favorite, due to its warm, nimble bass line that reminds me of Bowie's ballad from Labrynth, "As The World Falls Down.” I always liked that number, and it took another song, a decade or so later, to make me realize as much. "Call of the River" is another highlight, with its neat shifts in mood from rapturous to apprehensive and back again. If you've ever thought, as bright as her lyrics are, that Joni Mitchell crams too many syllables into her songs, then Perhacs could be a nice alternative. The timbre of their voices is similar, though Linda is decidedly more restrained.
As it happens, the most Mitchell-esque tunes, "Porcelain Baked Over Cast Iron Wedding" and "Paper Mountain Man" are the least notable songs on the release. They're definitely not throwaways, but Perhacs shines brightest within the quieter arrangements. These jazzy, jaunty numbers are passable whereas the rest of the songs are some of the sweetest, most poignant folk diamonds you're likely to unearth. I suggest you seek this album out if you like arresting yet soothing, contemplative folk music. It's well worth the digging. And I daresay it's worth whatever inflated cost Amazon wants to price it at. I know if I ever see it, I'll definitely pick it up. But for right now, it's sweet just to have these rapturous sounds at my disposal. So, pillage away if you will. The more people exposed to strangely soothing, obscure singer-songwriter albums like Parallelograms, the better.
1. Chimacum Rain
2. Paper Mountain Man
4. Call of the River
5. Sandy Goes
7. Hey Who Really Cares
8. Moons and Cattails
9. Morning Colors
10. Porcelain Baked Over Cast Iron Wedding