Half Hours With The Lower Creatures
Rachel Taylor Brown
Cutthroat Pop Records
At the other end of the spectrum is Rachel Taylor brown, whose uncompromising approach to her work, makes her music sometimes difficult to fully embrace, but always rewarding. Fans of Kate Bush or Tori Amos- will find a similar distinctive character in Brown’s work, although her music is perhaps not quite so approachable in character and a more elliptically cerebral in its world view.
“You’re Alright Sorla One” is a happy little ditty, all one minute of it, with rapid-pace piano backing. “Stagg Field” creates an interesting perspective in 3/4 time- making a strange love song out of the composition of an atom bomb. The solitary “Passion” contemplates Christ in a corrupt society. Continuing with the biblical context, “Abraham And Isaac” invokes a messy chapter of the Old Testament, with sparse, but effective instrumental backing- building into symphonic grandeur.
“BS (Beautiful Saviour)”continues the biblical/anti-war theme, chiming in like Kate Bush’s “Army Dreamers,” only with more purpose and intensity. “Another Dead Soldier In Fallujah” plays hardball with today’s current political scenario- which, unbeknownst to this administration, is wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of lives, here and across the world. The instrumental “Arlington,” places a wordless explanation point on the preceding (in counterpoint to the opening instrumental track“Hemocult/I Care About You” which is punctuated by the constant ringing of a phone) songs, with a clock ticking solemnly throughout.
The final four pieces carry through with the theme of loss and desolation- something Rachel Taylor Brown expresses very well. This album, while just as esoteric as all of her previous work, seems more accessible- perhaps due, in part, to the subject matter and the directness of her circuitous imagery; but also to the relative (compared to her earlier albums) simplicity of her melodies and arrangements. Just the same, this is a difficult, intelligent album with touches of true artistic grandeur and greatness and it is one of the best records released in this city in some time.