"Haunting folk rock from Seattle singer and his wife"

JEFF & SUSANNE KELLY "BY RECKLESS MOONLIGHT"

 

  •  Haunting folk rock from Seattle singer and his wife

Jeff Kelly is known as the leader of two Seattle bands: the enduring "Green Pajamas" with its reminiscent psychedelic rock, and "Goblin Market" with its obeisance to the excitement of Christina Rossetti's poem. This album is a joint effort with his wife (whose paintings feature in the accompanying booklet) of a re-recording of a simple home recording they made as newly weds in 1987. Now, twenty-seven years on, we have a collection of personal songs which appeal primarily through their directness. The randomness of personal memory and recollection lie in the lyrics: wearing "your gypsy dress" and leaving your "hair all in a mess," epitomise the marvelousness of the ordinary and underline the haunting quality of the compositions. In "The Witch of the Lake," again, there is the "tousled hair," but it is emphasised by the "lapping gray waves" and "the fairy tale smile" and the ever present witch of the lake.

To understand the care taken with the production, listen with headphones to this track carefully: the owl starting it all off; the stereo effect of voices from different directions; the background chorus; Susanne's voice coming in softly on the left. The same applies to another stand-out track: "Coming to find you." The whispered words, "Coming to find you" echoing; and the heavy bass guitar haunting. A memorable track. So it is with the production by Jeff and Susanne of the whole album. They have made all the sounds and written all the songs. The lyrics and the rhymes are cajoling enough to maintain an interest, and it is Jeff Kelly's style from "Green Pyjamas" that holds the work together. Recommended.

Dave Clarke