Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Elsewhere has sometimes told the story of a chance conversation over lunch before leaving for the Pacific Northwest, the friend mentioning his favourite band which I'd never heard of (Green Pajamas from Seattle), the dozen or so albums he brought around the following day, the sudden “Who are these amazing people and why haven't we been told about Jeff Kelly?” reaction and . . .
Drinks at Jeff and his artist wife Susanne's home when we passed through Seattle.
That was 16 years ago now but we've followed Kelly's solo career and the Green Pajamas reissues etc ever since.
But here is a new album of Kelly's pop-rock psychedelia coloured by his acoustic playing and that Revolver-era electric guitar weaving through these sometimes drone-pop but melodic originals: sample Art School Blues 1979 and the exceptional eight-minute High Tea With Miss Ava G.
Well-traveled Kelly (UK, Spain) makes a droll comment about Britain on the dreamy I'd Rather Be in the Sun (think a more tuneful Neil Young piano ballad as imagined by Brian Wilson) and Hello Hello is like a long lost Ray Davies song.
These are just reference points to persuade you that Kelly/Green Pajamas are really worth making time for.
And the two short Menagerie tracks with birdsong sound like they would open each side of vinyl if it were available.
It isn't all summershine here, side two is a very different proposition: Why Did You Do It is dark rock delivered with low menace of a night/life gone wrong; I Don't Believe You is weird folk with a snippet of a girls' choir played backwards; Lovers Lease is classic, brooding psychedelic Kelly/Pajamas with searing but constrained guitar . . .
With tabla, drones, piano, cautiously deployed synths and other discreet embellishments (check the chugging Just To This with its left-field Walrus-like gesture), Sunlight Might Weigh Even More is an album of musical and lyrical complexity but the delivery mechanism is engrossing guitar-based rock.
And the final two songs really bring this home.
The Green Pajamas' story shows no sign of running out of ideas for any new chapters.
You can hear and buy this album (which on CD comes with a gatefold of art by Susanne Kelly) from bandcamp here.