BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Putting the Green Pajamas on hold for a minute, prolific Seattle singer/songwriter Jeff Kelly teams with his painter/singer wife Suzanne for By Reckless Moonlight, a semi-sequel to the pair’s 1987 wedding album Coffee in Nepal. Previous Kelly-headlined records feature songs so close to the PJs’ folkin’ psych rock sound that one wonders if he makes solo records just to handle his overflow, and there are plenty of tunes here worthy of adding to the flagship’s catalog: the enigmatic “David,” the gothic “Cry, Cry, Maria Cry,” the rumbling “Coming to Find You,” the brooding “Never Tell.”
By Reckless Moonlight does feature some new wrinkles, however. Kelly adds distinctively jazzy textures to “The Loneliest Soul” and a Kurt Weill feel to “Rowboat to the Moon,” effectively creating new standards for some enterprising lounge singer somewhere. He also gives “I’d Rather Be Filming in Vanda’s Room” the most overtly bluesy backdrop we’ve ever heard from him, setting up Suzanne’s unvarnished vocal to be as earthy as it needs to be. (She also co-wrote the song.) “Honey Please Come Home” strips down to nothing but its piano-undies and Kelly’s heart-on-sleeve modesty.
With new facets shining on the same sparkling diamond, the Kellys keep faith with the masculine half’s usual aesthetic, but give By Reckless Moonlight enough of a spin to make it their own.
DOWNLOAD: “Rowboat to the Moon,” “The Loneliest Soul,” “Never Tell”