Thursday, March 10, 2011

CD Review: The Green Pajamas - This Is Where We Disappear

Note this review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer in 2001.


Time appears to have little relevance for The Green Pajamas. The Seattle-based band, which remains virtually unknown after 19 years of recording, is just as likely to draw inspiration from 18th century literature as Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. Their recently released This Is Where We Disappear is a concept album that weaves references to ghosts, religion, lust, and love into compelling pop music.


Opening with the lush and psychedelic title track, The Green Pajamas establish an other-worldly ambience right from the start. Distorted guitars and layered vocals underscore lyrics like, “Now be still my goblin heart, It is time that we depart.” Singer-guitarist-keyboards player Jeff Kelly is the Pajamas’ chief songwriter, and he’s a master of poetic imagery. “The Moorland Ghost” refers to a specter whose “dress was blowing wild/A thousand ribbons in the wind,” while the acoustic ballad, “Softly, Elizabeth” echoes the eccentric charm of Barrett’s early work.“Matilda” rocks harder and features medieval style lyrics based on a 1796 horror story called The Monk.


On the lighter side, “The Waitress At The Old White Lion” calls to mind “Kim The Waitress,” which was recorded by The Green Pajamas in 1984 and later covered by Material Issue. “Sweet 16” is an exquisite pop song about a forbidden love, while “Wild Desire,” set to a primitive drum and bass arrangement, views lust as a disease. “The Wave (It’s Becoming Very Clear)” is a short, symphonic reprise of the title track, and provides a fitting coda for an album that deserves to be viewed as a classic.

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