THE GREEN PAJAMAS - DEATH BY MISADVENTURE
( CD www.greenmonkeyrecords.com)
To be honest I have had this album for several weeks and it has taken several plays to fully appreciate its beauty and strength as it seems more obscure and dense than the other albums I own by the band. Now it has revealed itself to me however, it has become a favourite of mine that has also prompted me to re-visit the other discs, which made me realise just how brilliant the Green Pajamas are to my ears.
Opening with the epic song cycle “The Fall of the Queen Bee” which ties eight songs together around a loose theme of adventures within the colony, ending in the untimely death of the queen, this latest Green Pajamas collection maintains the high quality and imaginative songwriting that the band are known for, with dark themes a-plenty and an ear for melody that ensures emotions are high.
Immediately drawing you in, the first three songs are perfection, gently drifting tunes that have a complex heart, the simplicity of the tune carved into intricate shapes by the arrangements and instrumentation with the magnificent “Ring Around the Sun” being particularly effective. Seemingly having a direct line to your heart “Sky Blue Balloon” will stop you in your tracks, to these ears one of the finest songs that the band have ever written, its fragility cloaked with lyrical uncertainty, a chiming refrain adding another layer of feeling to the song.
With a gypsy air and plenty of energy, “The Queen Bee's Last Tango” is at the centre of the song cycle, the pivotal moment in the tale, told beautifully in a shimmering surreal atmosphere that blown away by the swarming guitars at the end , the band giving Neil Young a run for his money in the tones and emotion displayed.
After the slow, haunting lament of “Silk's Last Hour”, the weird fairy tale waltz of “The Queen Bee Is Dead” speaks of confusion and sadness before the cycle is rounded of with the gentle psychedelia of “Wrong Home”, a slowly dancing piano leading us out into an uncertain future.
Split into two, the second half of the album is called “Cruel Dreams Cruel Things” consisting of another eight songs and opening with the guitar driven “A Piece of a Dream” which definitely does sound like vintage Pajamas with some great distorted guitar running through the song, living happily with bright and breezy strings. Sweet and delightful, “Carrie” is a shadowy love song with a glorious melody, whilst “2nd to the Reward” is a more upbeat tune with obscure lyrics and more wonderful guitar playing.
After the slightly strange, laid-back stomp of “Beat Me Sally” complete with great organ work and horns, “Supervirgin” has a melody line that seems very familiar although that may be just because it is so good, who knows, either way this is a song that gets you singing along with consummate ease. As gentle as a summers breeze, “Christabel”aches with sadness, the music sticking pins in your heart before “In The Midnight Dim” gets all creepy and carnival minded as Christabel re-appears as a phantom come to haunt your dreams, the waltz time adding to the air of gothic menace. To round things off, “The Spell” has a lounge feel in its latin rhythms reminding me of Thomas Dolby for some strange reason and providing this collection with another texture right at the end.
Fans of The Green Pajamas will be well rewarded by this album, a fine collection that has hidden depths both musically and lyrically, a future classic you can hear now.