Baroness - Yellow and Green (Relapse Records)

You can't compare apples with oranges (or Reds or Blues)...
Release Date: 
16 Jul 2012 - 11:30pm

The word that flashes in my mind like neon dogs balls is 'harmony' - not that the Red Album (2007) or the Blue Record (2009) lacked harmony; it's just that Yellow and Green takes the harmony notch up several hundred degrees. There's that and the fact that, as John Baizely said to me in a recent interview: "I would say to you specifically it’s not really ‘metal as fuck’ is it?!”, and he's absolutely right. This isn't metal by a long shot but it's definitely about the character and feel of each song. I've read enough bollocks about this album to last me a lifetime and I wouldn't want to insult our dear MaF readers by writing a review that whines on for a page about how Baroness have lost their heaviness - how the fuck would we know?! Their next album might be the heaviest thing ever...who fucking knows where they'll go next?

Admittedly there are some tracks on the Yellow album that are quite punchy; the single Take My Bones Away has plenty of fat, heavy riffs and March to the Sea continues that heavy vibe but overall this is an album of 'songs as art' - these are not throw away, easily consumed tracks, not by a long shot. The openers on both Yellow and Green are organic (as is always the case with Baroness) and beautiful; the Yellow Theme is phaser driven and the Green Theme is mellowness personified. I wonder if the band had difficulty in resisting the urge to drop a ton of heavy riffage and overdrive into such tracks? But that's just it; these songs don't need it. They stand on their own merits. There are small touches and flourishes such as the delightfully off-kilter solo in Little Things that don't so much grab you by the throat as invite you in for a cup of tea before lashing you to a cosy and comfortable featherbed. There are bags of keyboards on here and even wind instruments and the buzzing of flies samples, such as on Twinkle. The dreamy qualities of Cocainium are mixed with raunchy bass - flanges and phasers are everywhere on here and this is definitely an album by a band who are prepared to go out on a limb. The Hawkwind-esque reprise of Back Where I Belong is a fine example of the fact that Baroness go where the hell they please; you can come with them if you want but they don't seem to care if you don't.

The Green album seems more focussed on the mellowness of Baroness yet there's still some head nodding, toe tapping goodness in the form of Board Up The House, as well the beauty of tracks like Foolsong and the almost Brian Eno stylings of If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry.
It ain't metal by a long shot but My Word! I love it.