"You'd think after nearly twenty years and a dozen mostly superlative releases the Green Pajamas would be content to just crank out consistently excellent records, but no: with Northern Gothic they've hit a new peak." - Michael Toland, High Bias
"'Lost Girls Song' is a spooky, heartbreaking piece. In fact, I found the entire record thematically engaging, with lovely and, yes, haunting melodies." - Andrew Pyper, author of the novel "Lost Girls"
"This is a shoe-in for my top of 2002 list, and I can't recommend it enough." - Brian Faulkner, Aural Innovations
From the Camera Obscura website...
Camera Obscura welcomes the Green Pajamas back where they belong for a new full-length studio release after several outings for the Woronzow/Rubric axis over the last two years.
"Northern Gothic" is the Green Pajamas strongest work since 1998's "All Clues Lead to Meagan's Bed", containing their darkest and most atmospheric recordings to date, as well as the maximum safe dose of Kelly's psychedelic guitar work, superb contributions from other voices within the band, and an intricate thematic integrity that rescues the idea of the "concept album" from bad progressive rock hell.
The title comes from the band's desire to evoke the geography of the USA's Pacific Northwest. As Jeff explains "It describes the feel and sound of a song like "Lost Girls Song,"; itself inspired by the novel Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper which, though modern, has a very gothic sort of feel and takes place in northern Canada. Living here, you have a certain landscape, a certain weather etched into your psyche. The trees, lakes, rain, the way the sky looks - they all combine into a very gothic sort of scene."
The opening track "In the Darkness" encapsulates this, sounding almost like collaboration between The Walkabouts and Neil Young.This album finally breaks the nexus between the band and its roots in Beatlesque psychedelia. "With the Pajamas records I've certainly been interested in influences, The Beatles being the most obvious", says Jeff, "but we've done our I Am The Walrus parody ending for fun, and needed to move on. If you look at all of the releases since "Strung Behind the Sun", there has been a progression and evolution of the music away from the obviously psychedelic towards a more unique place."
The often extended and very live sounding tracks on "Northern Gothic" mark the Green Pajamas hitting their own, distinctly American style; finding their own unique place. Beauty and darkness co-exist, no more so than on the keynote track "First Love", where delicate piano and vocal sections are interposed with the heaviest guitar work in the band's oeuvre. Add strong contrasting song contributions by fellow band members Eric Lichter and Laura Weller to Kelly's compositions, and you have a landmark record to add to this band's already formidable body-of-work.