Palm Wine Sunday Blue

Eric Lichter

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Palm Wine Sunday Blue Review

by Stewart Mason

It may not be as unexpected or grand as All Things Must Pass, but Palm Wine Sunday Blue, the solo debut from Eric Lichter, who plays the George Harrison role in Seattle's psych-pop masters the Green Pajamas, is a delightful surprise nonetheless. Lichter had added a song or two to several Green Pajamas albums since joining in the early '90s, but the band had stayed firmly in the control of its longtime leaders Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross. The surprises are twofold on first listen to his solo debut; first, that the overall tone is so much sunnier than the Green Pajamas' melancholy ruminations; and, second, that despite the more upbeat tone, this is clearly an album by a member of the Green Pajamas. As on Jeff Kelly's solo debut, Indiscretion, the arrangements are indisputably Pajamas-like: the meandering intros, minor-key 12-string guitars, and double-tracked vocals are all present and accounted for, as are the odd but effective touches like the koto that underpins the catchy opener "Wildly Polite." And yet, in songs like "Haley Mills" (about a long-burning crush on the British actress/singer, who, to nitpick, actually spells her name Hayley Mills) and the Arthur Lee-soundalike "Lavender Swing," there's an upbeat, cheery vibe to this album that makes it a much more immediately engaging listen than the Green Pajamas' albums, which tend to take a few spins before they sink in.

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