FAME Review: Rachel Taylor Brown - Falimy
Rachel Taylor Brown - Falimy


Rachel Taylor Brown

Penury Pop Records - pp 01-02

Available from Rachel Taylor Brown's Bandcamp page.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

No, that isnt a typo. Falimy is a purposeful corruption of 'family' and indicative of what you can expect in Rachel Taylor Brown's music, she being the sly omni-provocateur attacking all things from all angles. The very first cut, We'll Have A (to which you, dear listener, can insert 'family/falimy' or, if you wish, 'baby', or whatever), girds the loins for what's to come, going through the changes Brown standardly imposes on her audience's thinking. The cut starts out as a child's lullabye, then pauses and jumps into Kevin Ayers territory, steps back again, then leaps forward once more, building into an earthy all-embracing gospel modus complete with choir of Earth-bound angels, Rachel belting out a powerful repeating line that would do AME church soloists proud.

This entire CD concerns itself with family, intrinsic and extrinsic, and with—and this is what makes true artists most interesting in this sort of thing—Brown's own questions about the premises and actions arising from them. In Mt. Ethos, we hear:

Trying to get to Heaven
But there's a woman in the way
There's a woman in the way
Of men on their way

…so what do we make of the connotations? I've no doubt Brown posed the scenario precisely to make the listener confront his or her own mindset in addressing acceptance or rejection of the many interpositions lurking beneath the surface. What you say to those four lines will reveal much about you. It's a test, not a statement. Then there's the slippy-slidey Trade, with its sinister tail section of Twilight Zone ambience and drone lyrics. Things get darker, then lighter, then darker again, and pretty soon you're wondering what you've just dropped into.

There are Davendra Banhart/Vetiver elements here, and one never knows what to expect next, especially with the slinkily dark Munchkinland Little Fucker with Brown's omnipresent staccato piano raising and lowering the bloodpulse. There are also Shelleyan Orphan intrusions, not to mention Rasputina shadows, and all the archly Gothic dimensions they intone, but just when you're reconciled to a Nuevo Victorian ambience, you get Glassian minimal serial vocals (Litany of the Family). Abetting Brown is a stable of eccentric musicians, a chorus, and stalwart conspirator Jeff Stuart Saltzman (musician, mixer, co-maker), and if I were to place the entire gig backwards an era or two, I'd have Rachel and her gaggle opening for the Incredible String Band in a simultaneity of strangenesses. Where ISB would tout Celto-Anglo-madrigalian acid damage, there's quite a bit of stage, cabaret, and mutant Tin Pan Alley in Falimy. The two would complement in the oddest of ways, and both hippies and Gen Xers would come away scratching their heads and muttering "What the hell??" athwart dreamy smiles.

Track List:

  • We'll Have A
  • Mt. Athos
  • Robin
  • Trade
  • Little Fucker
  • Me Hurting You
  • Litany of the Family
  • Family
  • Men in War
  • (Bird)
  • One Brave Soul
All songs written by Rachel Taylor Brown.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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