GREEN PAJAMAS – Hidden Minutes (Camera Obscura)
It’s been a while since the last album from The Green Pajamas, and so to keep us going here is a vinyl only collection of songs that did not really fit on the new album, together with a few tracks that had appeared as singles on the internet, and which needed a permanent home. Despite being an odds ‘n’ sods collection this album hangs together extremely well, and all the songs are up to Kelly’s usual high standard. The title track comes in two versions, with ‘Hidden Minutes 1’ sounding like it could have been a single, having a slightly more commercial edge, but without sacrificing the Pajamas rock nous. ‘Claire’s Knee’ was inspired by the Eric Rohmer film of the same name, and is brought to life by Kelly’s ringing guitar playing, while ‘Valerie Rose’ is a slower song, but it does give Kelly a chance to shine with a couple of good solos. ‘ She Is A Dream’ is another slowie, this time with an under-stated orchestral backing which brings out the melancholy of the song. ‘Between Yourself And Me’ takes its lyrics from the White Rabbit’s verses in Alice In Wonderland, which are set to a loping groove which gives Kelly the opportunity to pull off a searing solo. ‘Watching Jamie Dance’ does sound to me a little like a speeded up version of ‘Claire’s Knee’, but when you have written as many songs as Kelly has over the years I suppose you are bound to revisit at some point. ‘The Mystery’ harks back to their very first album sessions, with a songs that bassist Joe Ross had always liked and so which the band have now re-recorded. ‘Lady Of Spain’ is an aching ballad with some nice harpsichord touches, and ‘Highway 93’ sounds like it is their answer to ‘Route 66’, but taken at a much more leisurely pace, and with a darkly sinister feel to it – more like ‘Route 666’. ‘Please Come Home’ is a deceptively simple plea for a lover to return, but sung with a yearning intensity. ‘Hidden Minutes 2’ closes the album with a rockier version of the opening track, with the organ giving it something of a progressive rock feel. For a collection of disparate songs just chucked together, this album feels as complete as any of their others, with the songwriting shining through as always, and the band giving their usual excellent performances. Another winner from the ever reliable GPs.