It’s clear from just a glance at the title that something is amiss in the latest record from Portland singer Rachel Taylor Brown. Falimy jumbles the letters of one of America’s most sacred institutions, making it seem uncomfortably out-of-whack and heavily implying the word “fail” right in the first syllable. Sure enough, in the chorus of its first song, a rolling, rococo Broadway-gone-bonkers number titled “We’ll Have A,” Brown tartly sings, “The world is so frightening, there’s never enough…So let’s have a family.”
“I’m skeptical of any kind of revered institution that makes it easy for the people within it to be protected from any kind of comeuppance if something not so great is happening,” Brown explains. “I mistrust and worry about any kind of protective bubble that people can be in.” Some of that is drawn from Brown’s own turbulent childhood, but the themes on Falimy extend to other revered institutions as well. “Mt. Athos,” on which Brown quips, “Trying to get to heaven, but there’s a woman in the way” over frantic piano and growling guitar. “Mt. Athos is this isthmus that has this beautiful monastery on it for hundreds of years, and it’s been no girls allowed. Some bishop laid down this edict that the girls would get in the way and would inspire lust in the loins of the men who were studying on the island. It made me wanna go spread my girl germs all over the island.”
That gleeful, impish sense of humor runs throughout Falimy, from the droll rundown of endless family configurations on “Litany of the Family” to the delightfully acrid “Little Fucker,” on which Brown lays into a malicious person with the lightness of a ballerina. “I kind of want that song to be like a singalong, or an anthem for people in their lives, at those moments in their lives when they have to deal with the little fuckers. But it was spawned and inspired by a few very special little fuckers in my life.” A person couldn’t ask for a better tribute.