Green Pajamas — Book of Hours
(Green Monkey GM1004, 1986/2010, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-12-31
With a bit of effort, I can take myself back mentally to when Book of Hours came out. I was quite familiar with the Green Pajamas by that time, with their single "Kim the Waitress" stuck in my head for days at a time. Their debut album, then only available on cassette, was also a favorite. This was in Seattle before Nirvana, Sound Garden, and Pearl Jam; Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone were around, but weren't my scene — I was more inclined towards the eccentric, melodic music found on the Green Monkey and Pop Llama labels, not to mention the crazy, unpredictable beast that was Variant Cause (AKA Koo Dot Tah). My musical background lay in the same music as the Pajamas: 60s psychedelic rock. From the very first listen, Book of Hours was stunning, capturing an adventurous 60s vibe without sounding dated, contrasting fuzz guitar with beautiful touches like horns, sitar, strings, keyboards, bagpipes, and a children's chorus, nailing every detail but not coming off as overproduced and clinical. And in spite of the obvious 60s inspiration, Book of Hours doesn't sound like a pastiche, sounding more natural than the Dukes of Stratosphear (whom I also love, but their recordings, while brilliant, seem a little artificial compared to the PJ's). Listening to it many years later, the sound is slightly marred by some dated keyboard patches, but that's a very minor complaint when compared to the album's many fine points. Book of Hours is definitely one of the finest examples of psychedelic rock from the 80s, worth seeking out for fans of the genre.
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