Fur For Fairies: Devil Down


Green Pajamas offshoot Fur For Fairies keeps it gothic, poetic and dramatic

Even though the artist is listed here as Fur For Fairies, make no mistake about it: This is the debut LP of Susanne Kelly, longtime wife of Jeff Kelly, lead singer/songwriter for Seattle indie-rock stalwarts the Green Pajamas. Needless to say, the music here bears no resemblance to the Pajamas.

The Green Monkey Records press release refers to Susanne’s album as “11 lucky slices of infinity and grace.” WTF? What kind of drugs was that guy using? This isn’t a Jackie Kennedy album we’re talking about. As a misguided, ultra-twee way to describe the artist, Fur For Fairies doesn’t give you much, either. For some reason, Susanne Kelly’s name appears nowhere on the release—odd considering how she totally owns the music.

One voyage through these gritty, sometimes blood-soaked and hell-bound songs, and you get the full picture. Susanne, who considers herself as much an actor as a singer, takes on the appearance of a midnight wraith, a ghoul, maybe even a well-hidden cannibal. In short, much of this is pretty creepy stuff, especially for a beautiful girl with a background as a well-respected Seattle artist whose paintings hang in important places.

“I looked upon each track as a short story, a perfect little art piece dipped in melancholy,” says Susanne. “I almost feel like I’m playing each part in costume. That way, I don’t get stuck in a rut.” The inspiration to create this oddball mini-masterpiece comes from what she labels “a rebellion from soulsucking day jobs” both Kellys were working in the health-care industry for far too long. As for the scary cover photo of Susanne with matted hair and crimson-stained lips—something even her mother might not recognize—Susanne confirms, “I’m not making this record to be eye candy.”

The lyrics, written by Jeff with help from Susanne, have more than a few H.P. Lovecraft moments. “Gone With Summer” states, “It’s raining cold drops of you.” Or as “The End Of The World” illustrates, “You walk like a boy, you feel like a girl/I bet you would taste like the end of the world.”

Jeff has wrought backing tracks that resemble nothing he’s ever attempted with the GPJs. Haunted church organ settles under cobwebbed oboe, tinkling celeste and slashing, Hendrix-like guitar accompanied by an occasional seismic bass pattern that sucks all the air out of the room. This is a man who took something away with him when he visited Bram Stoker’s grave in London’s Highgate Cemetery at millennium’s end.

When it comes to Susanne’s work ethic, Jeff likes to inject a little Keats into the discussion. “She puts songs across that realize her limits and become great within,” he says. “Each song is a fully finished piece without peaks and valleys.”

As for that drywall-peeling bass sound, he credits it to something he once heard on a track by London punk legends Siouxsie & The Banshees. If Siouxsie gets the chance to hear Susanne, she should feel that the torch may have finally been passed to a dramatically worthy successor.

—Jud Cost