Last year, Sandro Perri returned with In Another Life, his first proper long-player in the better part of a decade, and a self-proclaimed experiment in “infinite songwriting.” That work, shimmering and elliptical, went on to become one of our favorites of 2018, and now Perri has turned around with something of a companion piece: an extension of his immeasurable pop sensibilities in the form of an album entitled Soft Landing. The 16-minute opening track, “Time (You Got Me),” floats like a cross-pollination of King Sunny Adé and Fred Neil.
Arguably more concise than its predecessor, the album feels like a culmination of Perri’s work from the past decade, and beyond, extending to some of the more lo-fi hushed folk of his earlier work. His sauntering electric guitar, dawn-stroked orchestration, and languid, falsetto soul infiltrate the grooves, as do more pensive, acoustic moments such as on “Back on Love,” where he sings: “You can turn your back on giving / You might turn on taking too / You burn your back just living / You’ll take it on.” It’s a sobering sentiment, and one of his most directly cutting deliveries since his fragile rendition of “Everybody’s Talkin’.” “Who turns their back on love?” he asks, “Who takes it on?” The answer, we can sense, is hoped to be within reach.
Perri reaches near pop perfection on the lounge-funk number “Wrong About the Rain,” which grooves and ruminates in harmony. “I need the sand/I need the swim,” he pines, “I need that thing that happens when/Out there all day/Time slips away…” Envisioning valleys where, seemingly for the better, things don’t change so fast, we can almost feel him levitating there. Expansive and grateful, he leaves the path open for us to meet him. words / c depasquale