Boomkat Product Review:
Although Zelienople might now be best known for their basement psychedelic jams, all crunching guitars and floorboard-rockin' free drumming, they actually started as something slightly different altogether. 'Pajama Avenue' was the band's first album and originally surfaced back in 2002, and showed the band to have much more of a leaning towards 'Spirit of Eden'-era Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis and early Verve (when they were good). This is no bad thing in my book, and the album stands as not only a reminder where the band came from but also as a stunning piece of work in its own right containing enough classic Zelienople moments to surely win over fans who have only recently discovered them. The first thing you notice from the gorgeous opening track 'It's Hard to Steal Cars' is the use of gently reverberating synthesizers, something which sets the mood perfectly - a shimmering navel-gazing ambience punctuated by Mike Weis's tight percussion and brought to life by Matt Christensen's breathy vocals. This is carried into the second track 'Chase Scene' that brings the bass guitar into the fore, yet keeps the mood intact with the whole track sounding as if it was recorded in a reverb chamber, giving a dream-like quality which becomes synonymous with the record itself. Elsewhere we get the Slowdive-esque 'Back to Dangerous' (possibly the most ineffably beautiful track the band have ever made?) and the anthemic title track 'Pajama Avenue' and you realise that back in 2002 Zelienople made an album of pure unashamed pop. While now they might now be associated with the wyrd folk/avant psyche scene more than necessarily the pop world, it's easy when you hear this album to work out how they reached the grimy heights of 'His/Hers' and 'Pajama Avenue' stands as a hugely impressive debut and should really be heard by far more people than it has been already. Huge recommendation and an essential purchase!