In a Glass Darkly

The Green Pajamas

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In a Glass Darkly Review

by Stewart Mason

Since the early 1980s, the Green Pajamas have been one of the leading lights in the American psychedelic underground, although the Seattle-based group unfortunately often takes years-long breaks between recording sessions. (Outside of their small but devoted cult, the Green Pajamas are best known for 1984's hypnotic "Kim the Waitress," a brilliant single ruined by the lame Chicago power-poppers Material Issue some years later.) 2001's In A Glass Darkly, the group's first release in almost two years, is subtitled "Songs inspired by the stories of J.S. Le Fanu," a Victorian-era writer of mysteries and ghost stories. The five songs on this 22-minute EP are suitably dark and ornate, befitting their inspiration, but In A Glass Darkly is nowhere near as pretentious as the subtitle suggests. Leader Jeff Kelly's songs are delicate edifices spun out of harpsichords, acoustic guitars and twinkling keyboards. (Unlike most Green Pajamas records, drummer Karl Willhelm is barely in evidence here.) The two efforts by the group's newest member, multi-instrumentalist Laura Weller, have a more folk-rock flavor, with "Laura Silver Bell" the most immediately catchy song on the record. This is not a record that leaps out of the speakers demanding to be listened to, but it's a small, quiet pleasure for anyone with an interest in the gentler side of psychedelia.

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