‘Death By Misadventure’ is a wacky exercise in psychedelia. A beautiful, crazy concept album about the life cycle of a bee colony (kind of). Quirky? Yep. Dark and tormented. Indeed. Oh, and it’s the 30th album by Seattle stalwarts and psychedelic enthusiasts The Green Pajamas. It’s starting to make sense now…
Well, it makes sense to a point – if you’re in a certain mindset or mood when you take the album in. Even the songs about sunshine and summer have sinister undertones. It’s all very disconcerting, but you get the distinct impression that The Green Pajamas had every intention of it being this way.
Part One is ‘The Fall of the Queen Bee’, set in a land called Colony. Here, the Queen suffers ‘death by decadent misadventure’, described in gloriously graphic detail in ‘The Queen Bee’s Last Tango’. “She strips off her girdle, slips off her swastika ring/While 17 boys dressed up as dolls and toys blow the king/In the opium fog, the prince and his dog start to sing/And there’s no sense of the sorrow to befall them all tomorrow” … yep, it sounds like quite a party.
In the aftermath, the Queen was fried in batter and eaten by her subjects, which she preferred to a good hanging. You have to cut through some killer tunes to get to the storyline, but this is certainly no chore!
The second half of the album is ‘Cruel Dreams, Cruel Things’. This is the half that has a stronger pop sensibility. That’s not to say it reverts to more traditional subject matter – Jeff Kelly’s lyrics are still full of supernatural references – tales of faerey, witching hours, myths, legend, romance and some good old sleaze. But again, the killer tracks will have you tapping your feet and the tunes will worm their way into your head.
But really, you’re best off not thinking about things too much. Just accept that the moon is made of cheese and give Death By Misadventure a good listen, it’s well worth it.