Green Pajamas – Complete Book of Hours

January 01, 1970

(Green Monkey Records)


Like the Northwest environs from which they hail, Green
Pajamas’ music conveys a magical allure that proves consistently beguiling, no
matter how many times it’s experienced. It conveys a joy of discovery that
seduces its listeners after little more than a cursory encounter. It’s
unfortunate, then, that after 25 years, they’ve never found a wider audience in
this country, even though their European fan base has burgeoned quite
impressively. Fortunately, that disparity has never discouraged them; they have
a stunning output that has never faltered from one record to the next.


Critics have been fond of typecasting Green Pajamas as a
broad divide of psychedelia and cinematic suggestion, but it’s a more
indefinable style that accounts for their charms. That was never more evident
than early on, with the release of their formal debut, Book of Hours, which, when originally issued in 1986, showed them
emerging fully formed. The band’s personnel mutated in the years since, but
with erstwhile leader Jeff Kelly at the helm, the musical vision remained
immaculately conceived. Never shy about melding cellos, oboes, sitar and even bagpipes
in the mix, Kelly and company let loose their grand ambitions, even as they
remained cognizant of a desire to craft an accessible sound.  In songs such as “Paula,” “Men in Your Life,”
“The First Rains of September,” and “Stand to Reason,” there’s a decided effort
to entice the listener while refusing to let go. What’s more, the retro
references also abound, from the pristine pop of “My Red Balloon” (affirmed by
its “la-la-la” refrain) to the overtly Beatlesque construction of “Ten Thousand
Words” and “Higher Than I’ve Been,” which recall the Fabs’ “Dr. Robert” and
“Taxman,” respectively.  It’s a seamless
album throughout, from the spunky, brass-infused opener “Paula” to the hypnotic
textures of its brilliant closer, “Time of Year.”


Now re-released and expanded to 17 songs with the benefit of
various bonus tracks heretofore only released overseas, the once rare Book of Hours gets the deluxe treatment
it deserves. Two and a half decades on, it proves as enchanting as ever, a
groundbreaking effort that makes for a welcome return.


DOWNLOAD: “Paula,” “My Red Balloon,” “Higher Than I’ve Ever Been” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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