Over the course of a twenty year career, the Green Pajamas
remain a rather unusual entity, a band whose commitment to psychedelic
suggestion and nocturnal soundscapes has redefined the stereotypical view of
the so-called Seattle
sound. Poison in the Russian Room provides the latest in a lengthy list of
captivating albums, EPs and occasional offshoots, imbued as always with
celestial trappings, dense textures and an unerring hypnotic drift.
Part concept album, part collection of individually inspired
songs (the album is essentially divided into two parts like opposite sides of
an LP), it varies in tone from riveting to repose, as drastic a divide as
anything in their back catalogue. “The
Lonesome End of the Lake” provides a jarring
intro, but the best tracks are those like “Any Way the Wind Blows,” “Queen of
Broken Hears” and the title track, where the mood is mellow but the hooks are
sumptuous. Likewise, the surging,
insistent refrains of “This Angel’s On Fire,” the surprisingly sunny “Suicide
Subways” and the hypnotic seduction of “Who’s That Calling” all attest to the
band’s ability to provide a mesmerizing motif.
Admittedly, there’s a lot to absorb, and with the ambiance
often so obtrusive, it sometimes takes a second listen before the allure
becomes all the more apparent.
Nevertheless, Poison in the
Russian Room is an ideal primer for the uninitiated and another trippy
treat for the band’s faithful following.
Standout Tracks: “This Angel’s on
Fire,” “Poison in the Russian Room,” “Suicide Subways” LEE ZIMMERMAN