Published Sep 05, 2019We live in intensely strange times, like society is being run through a blender. The whole political spectrum is in flux, pop culture is a ballet of problematic outrage, and climate is changing in catastrophic ways. No wonder we are so heavily medicated for anxiety and depression, but for those seeking an alternative to pharmaceuticals or even CBD oil, Sandro Perri has got you covered.
Following a seven-year gap between albums, during which he worked with Off World and other projects, Perri returned in 2018 with In Another Life, and wasted no time in polishing its followup, Soft Landing. With the latter, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter and eccentric producer gave us the perfect cushion for Trump's blow. Lord knows no president in American history has blown more than Trump, so this respite is desperately needed.
Soft Landing fulfills the promise implied by its title. The sound of this album is soothing, resolved and heavily evocative of laidback '70s pop-funk and soft rock; highlighting Rhodes and clavinet lends it a particular hint of Stevie Wonder. Its blurry nostalgia is what you might imagine it sounds like inside the head of Bob Ross as he paints, an aural pulling-of-the-chutes that allows us to float down like a peaceful feather on the summer breeze that makes us feel fine, like all our mistakes are just happy accidents.
The smattering of congas and chimes on the title track couldn't be more unhurried if they were buried neck-deep in concrete. The flute on "Floriana" practically purrs, while "Wrong About the Rain" has what sound like a clavinet being tickled. "God Blessed the Fool" takes sex-funk downtempo, slowly and smoothly, with Perri gushing out the silkiest of falsettos, while "Back on Love" features a more folky acoustic guitar vibe, with an emotive message delivered amidst a rising yet chill melody.
The opening track, "Time (You Got Me)" sets the tone for all that comes after it. The twinkling of chimes, the hint of tape warmth, the pitter-patter of congas, the subtle swells of organ, the clave far off in the distance, the languid electric guitar melody that casually weaves in and out of the texture that drifts off into a lengthy improvisation: all of this is spaced out in vivid, panoramic stereo. If Soft Landing doesn't make you feel good inside, all the drugs in the world won't help you. (Constellation)