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The Green Pajamas - Sunlight Might Weigh Even More (Green Monkey)

6 October 2021

Since its eighties inception, Seattle’s Green Pajamas have long been one of the most prolific bands in the psych rock underground, releasing dozens of albums, EPs, singles and side projects galore. So it’s unusual that Sunlight Might Weigh Even More comes a whole three years since its last LP, 2018’s Phantom Lake (Northern Gothic 3).

Unlike that record, which leaned heavily on singer/songwriter Jeff Kelly’s darker leanings, Sunlight revels in the group’s bright psychedelic pop side. Harpsichord-like keyboards, ghostly vocal tracks, old-school guitar distortion and melodies that conflate pop, folk and proto-prog ornament songs that evoke nature imagery and call out ladies by name. Kelly waxes light on “Hello, Hello,” “High Tea With Miss Ava G” and “I’d Rather Be in the Sun,” while multi-instrumentalist Eric Lichter offers the frothy “Lovers Lease” and “Sunlight” (from which comes the title). Co-founder Joe Ross also contributes his first PJs song in a decade with the delightful “Down To the Ocean.” Kelly does bring in the darkness with the chilling “Why Did You Do It,” but for the most part the songs stick to cloudless skies.

From Love to the Beatles to the Beach Boys, echoes of the sunnier side of the sixties abound, not to mention side glances at the PJs’ neo-psych peers. But they’re only implications – this band never rips off anyone. Except maybe themselves, given how much the record deliberately nods to their 1990s notables like Seven Fathoms Down and Falling and Strung Behind the Sun. But that’s part of what gives the Green Pajamas their charm – the ability to evoke past glories while never sounding like anyone but themselves.