In one of many memorable moments on I'm a Harmony, Linda Perhacs' third album and a follow-up to her 2014 comeback The Soul of All Natural Things, she entices the listener to "take your love to a higher level / Take it take it take it to a higher level / Take your heart to a higher level," etcetera. The psych folk legend, who until 2014 hadn't released an album since her 1970 cult masterpiece Parallelograms, has said before that her music isn't purely recreational. It serves a purpose: to uplift.
I'm a Harmony is sort of the musical equivalent of attending a yoga class (complete with the resistance you might feel to be patient with it — a few of these songs are seven or eight minutes long), albeit one populated with some very cool experimental psych folk musicians; Perhacs collaborates again with Julia Holter, who sounds like a vocal sister they blend so well, as well as producer Pat Sansone, Wilco's Glenn Kotche and Nels Cline, Devendra Banhart and others.
Perhacs, whose music reminds me occasionally of her contemporary Buffy Sainte Marie, has similarly eagerly embraced electronic sounds: "I'm a harmony and I'm singing through your laptop, pop pop," she sings playfully on the title track.
Perhacs' stellar melodies are bolstered by excellent musicianship throughout, like Cline's watercolour-like guitar work at the end of "Winds of the Sky," and Leddie Garcia's tumbling percussion on "The Dancer." She's singing of love in all its incarnations, of birthdays ("One Full Circle") and of scary things like climate change ("Eclipse of All Love").
But what makes these eccentric new New Age songs irresistible is Perhacs' contagious enthusiasm. She somehow pulls off a handful of exclamations throughout the record, things like "Wow!," "Crazy!" and "Yeah!" (Omnivore)