New York multi-hyphenate Rahill (a.k.a. Rahill Jamalifard) just released her sweeping debut album Flowers At Your Feet, a stunningly intimate collection of fourteen songs that traverse the inner worlds that comprise her. Some might recognize her as one of the co-founders of the psych-rock outfit Habibi — which just released its sophomore album Anywhere But Here only a few years ago. But unlike the heady rollicking that defined the band Rahill’s solo project is decidedly defined by its genre-bending nature.
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Flowers At Your Feet effortlessly glides and melds together everything from Eastern and Western folk to trip-hop and jazz. But it is also inescapably informed by Rahill’s identity as a first-generation Iranian-American who split time growing up between Michigan and Iran. While sampled recordings of relatives speaking Farsi dot her music and add an impossible-to-replicate warmth to her already deeply personal songs.
Two quick standouts on the album include its radiant opening track “Healing,” which splices together soothingly jazzy instrumentation with a collection of overlapped home recordings, and the joyously rhapsodic “I Smile for E,” an ode to her late aunt Elaheh. Against breezy and lightweight acoustics Rahill finds tenderness and love in place of grief — the song ending with a sublime recording of her aunt singing alongside her own soft coos. Or “Ode to Dad,” a twinkling stream of consciousness run-through of all the things her father might say (or has said) to her.
It doesn’t take long for you to find yourself enveloped by Rahill’s poetic lyricism and soundscapes. On the lush lullaby “From a Sandbox” she wafts dreamily through a prism of luminous childhood memories; while on “Hesitations” she meanders buoyantly through retro-glinting space-pop, retracing sweetly a particular taste of a moment’s desire that evolves into something far more lingering. Each new song unfolds a new facet of Rahill’s personal mythology as it does a new layer of the melodic wonderland that soundtracks it.
On the deliriously funky “Fables” — a magically rousing elegy inspired by childhood memories of her father reading the Iranian epic “Shahnameh” to her — she is joined by Beck, whose own ecstatic eclecticism finds itself mirrored beautifully in the song’s pop effulgence. “Bended Light” sees her slipping into another mythic fascination, this time with the image of the cowboy, to create a sizzling new amalgamation she refers to as cowboy jazz. While “Futbol” sees Rahill looking back to a time when the stage wasn’t her primary location of expression but rather the field, serving as an impassioned ode to the coach and sport that helped her cultivate her young spirit.
Visit Rahill on their website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to Flowers At Your Feet the new album from Rahill below!