ALBUM: Baroness – Yellow & Green

Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Label: Relapse Records
Website: www.baronessmusic.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourbaroness
Twitter: www.twitter.com/yourbaroness

Rating:

‘Yellow & Green’, the double-disc offering from Georgia four-piece, Baroness, is so much more than your run-of-the-mill album. Steering away from the heavier sound that dominates previous outings, it’s easier on the ear but has no less intensity or power. Tracks like the driving ‘Take My Bones Away’ will get heads banging; the more relaxed ones, like ‘Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)’, will get you thinking in ways that straight-up rock bands, quite simply, won’t.

Led by guitarist/vocalist John Baizley, Baroness cover a lot of ground here. Even for 18 tracks, things get expansive, but will still retain your interest; ‘Eula’ being a case in point. Sprawling over nearly seven minutes and having a massive soundscape to play with, it lays its foundations with two chords on an acoustic guitar, before building to a euphoric climax that sees out ‘Yellow’ in stunning fashion.

But, there’s also wonderful simplicity when there needs to be. The haunting ‘March To The Sea’ doesn’t move away from the chords that make up its chiming intro, but is still one of the more moving tracks on the album. A tragic tale of addiction, it’s also the best indicator of both Baroness‘ new sound and continuing quality.

There are great individual performances here too. ‘Psalms Alive’ is a jittery number which features intricate drumming by Allen Blickle, while Pete Adams joins Baizley in playing some slick harmonies across the album, none-more-so than on the warm solo of ‘The Line Between’. The effects that soak the guitars give the album a distinctive feel, and opens up new ideas about how rock bands should sound.

But, for all the thought that has gone into the songs, that apparent simplicity in structure is what makes ‘Yellow & Green’ so accessible. Yes, there’s plenty of depth to what’s being played, but not once does it become overwhelming. The instrumentals across both discs are testament to the less-is-more approach; the blissful ‘Stretchmarker’ being the one that offers most as a standalone track. ­

‘Yellow & Green’ is a superb listen. If you’re daunted by 18 tracks, please don’t be. When it’s 18 tracks that all bring something great to the table, it’s not an issue. Feast on it, get your fill and come back for more. Outstanding.

Written by Ryan Williams