Blurt Review of The Goblin Market

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Goblin Market

       

Beneath Far Gondal’s Foreign Sky

 

(Green Monkey)

 

Technically a side project from Jeff Kelly and Laura Weller of the Green Pajamas, the Goblin Market allegedly concentrates more on Kelly's penchant for gothic themes and atmosphere over psychedelic melody and whimsy. (And when we say gothic, we mean the art and literature of 19th century Europe, not black eyeliner and Marilyn Manson addicts.) But let's be frank here: if you were to put Beneath Far Gondal's Foreign Sky, the Market's third LP, on right after a classic PJs album like Northern Gothic or 21st Century Séance, you'd never know the difference - especially since the record recycles the parent band's "High Waving Heather" and "The Moorland Ghost." Not a bad thing, actually - it may mean little conceptual variance, but it also means the same commitment to great melodies, quality songcraft and a dedication to cliché avoidance few artists can touch.

 

The main difference on Beneath is that it follows suit from the previous Market album Haunted in that the tunes revolve around the work of a single literary source, namely the illustrious gothic authors Emily and Anne Brontë. Putting poetry to music is always a dicey proposition, but there's arguably no one better at it than Kelly and Weller. The marriage of verse and melody on "If This Be All," "The Night is Darkening Round Me" and "The Night-Wind" is so harmonious one wonders if the Brontës meant these poems to be songs all along. Kelly compliments the adaptations with new originals inspired by the sisters, including "Love Song" (from which the album's title comes), "The Lock" and "A Lonely Thing."

 

With Kelly's gothic psych aesthetic in full force, Beneath Far Gondal's Foreign Sky is as tight, heartfelt and supremely crafted as anything under the better-known Green Pajamas banner. Fans of the man's work in any arena should snap this up.

MICHAEL TOLAND