It’s something to see a band release a double album. When I see it I have to wonder if the band really felt like they needed two albums to get their point across; are they that confident in the songs? Maybe it’s a reflection of my own insecurity when it comes to making music. Regardless, though we might never know the real reasons, Baroness went ahead and did that very thing, putting out the combined Yellow & Green in 2012. And, well…it goes about like many other double albums: there’s a great single album in there somewhere, but I usually don’t stick around that long to find it.
Is it truly a double album, though? There’s a Yellow Disc and a Green disc, each with its own theme for an intro. But on the other hand there’s a musical consistency to both discs, one where heaviness is turned down (almost to the point of making the tracks anemic) in favor of sparser, more clean arrangements evoking fragility and growth as songwriters. Which is all fine and dandy except that too often when the band switches to rock mode it feels lethargic.
There are some stellar moments on Yellow – “Cocainium,” “Back Where I Belong,” and the beautiful “Eula” but coming back to Yellow & Green now I find myself drawn more to the Green side. After the more muscular “Board Up the House” the band settles into a stretch of softer, more experimental songs and it works wonders: from “Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)” straight to “Psalms Alive” it feels like this is where Baroness were trying to get to.
In the end, regardless what I think of the music I admire their chutzpah in putting it out. Lord know I have a hard enough time being confident in releasing one song, let alone the 18 on display here. So good on you, Baroness.