PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

The Green Pajamas: In a Glass Darkly

Dave Heaton

Seattle's The Green Pajamas should be near the top of any Most Underrated Band in America list.


The Green Pajamas

In a Glass Darkly

Label: Hidden Agenda
US Release Date: 2001-05-01
Amazon
iTunes

Seattle's The Green Pajamas should be near the top of any Most Underrated Band in America list. Since the late '80s they've been releasing intelligent, superbly crafted albums, yet their closest brush with fame was when Material Issue had a hit with their song "Kim the Waitress". And even that didn't get them far, as even at the time of that song's popularity its authorship wasn't widely indicated. Still, the Terrastock scene and the general explosion of "indie-rock" fans' focus in all sorts of directions seem to be giving the band more publicity, a phenomenon that might be late coming but should be applauded nonetheless.

In a Glass Darkly, The Green Pajamas' latest release, is a five-song EP with a sound that's quite different from their most recent few albums. Those releases, swirling works of psychedelic pop/rock, contained plenty of accessible pop hooks and rock energy. Neither of those elements are too present here, though In a Glass Darkly is as satisfying in its own way. Originally planned as a release from lead singer Jeff Kelly's side project Goblin Market, the EP contains five songs with an old-fashioned, Gothic feel, all inspired by the short stories of J.S. Le Fanu.

Each song on In a Glass Darkly tells a story, and each deals with ancient themes of love, death, and betrayal. Each also includes familiar images and figures, from candles and mansions to ghosts and shadowy figures lurking in the dark. Musically, the band crafts a spooky, melancholy mood, using guitars, keyboards and some more old-time-sounding instruments, which both holds the songs together as a work and complements the lyrical depictions of mystery and sadness. "Uncle Silas", the loping first track, should immediately remind Green Pajamas fans that the band once recorded a fine cover of Leonard Cohen's "The Story of Isaac". Cohen is definitely a touchpoint at times here, but so are various strains of traditional European folk music and more contemporary melodic rock.

In a Glass Darkly tells familiar stories with freshness and creative spark. Though poking into darker material than usual, The Green Pajamas bring their usual sense for instrumentation, melody and lyrics and use them fabulously. This EP might not be as rock-oriented as your typical Green Pajamas release, but it's yet one more reminder of how criminally underheard they are.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.