Baroness - "Yellow & Green" (CD)
"Yellow & Green" track listing:
Disc 1 (Yellow)
1. Yellow Theme
2. Take My Bones Away
3. March to the Sea
4. Little Things
7. Back Where I Belong
8. Sea Lungs
Disc 2 (Green)
1. Green Theme
2. Board Up the House
3. Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)
6. Psalms Alive
8. The Line Between
9. If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry
Reviewed by buickmckane on July 19, 2012
“Yellow” and “Green” are not like other Baroness albums you know; I feel these albums are less about being heavy and are more contemplative and upbeat. They are definitely not what I was expecting, but still have the same amount of layering and musicianship that you’d expect from this intriguing band.
The first album “Yellow” has a slow acoustic open that goes into a rollicking, hard rock song with a dark edge: “Take My Bones Away.” John Baizley’s vocals are sung more clean than before and have more harmonies. The next song “March to the Sea” has a similar, cleaner, and tighter sound in the guitars and the vocals with a slight echo effect, almost a progressive pop tempo like Queens of the Stone Age. Throughout the album, nuances of whimsical pyschedelia, happy stoner tones, and new wave ambience ebb and flow as if Baroness had been doing this for the band’s entire existence. There’s even a slight disco drum beat by Allen Blickle in “Little Things.” The melancholy acoustic tune “Twinkler” brings the album back to an ambient 70’s warm tone, full of reverb and backwards soundscapes.
“Green” begins with an almost 90s California alt rock sound, but winding through the songs you find that each is different. For instance, “Collapse” has weird guitar effects that vary from the very minimal new wave sound in “Psalms Alive.” Songs like “Board up the House” showcase a bass driven rock vocal melody, full of hooks and memorable composition. “Stretchmarker” is an instrumental song that has sweet acoustic guitars picking a melody over an ambient background that slowly shifts to the foreground. Then in “The Line Between,” there’s finally some fast strummed guitars and a darker metal sound, but not so much that it is isolated from the other tracks. It ends on a slow, ambient instrumental note in “If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry.” When this album is not punching with a new wave beat, it’s ambient and acoustic, with guitar twang tones occasionally no drums at all.
“Yellow” and “Green” are certainly a move into new territory for Baroness, somewhere between Killing Joke’s later albums and Radiohead’s more experimental releases. The band is making a new sound all its own that will fan out to an even larger audience.
Highs: Excellent use of layering and the sound varies every song.
Lows: Too much of a departure from the band's previous sound.
Bottom line: These are interesting albums from Baroness with very good musicianship.
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