The Lowdown: Baroness’ newest album, Gold & Grey, represents a great deal for the band; while it makes for the closing chapter to their chromatic-themed LPs, it is also a proud representation of the band’s artistry. Over the course of their career, Baroness have delivered material that exudes emotion, while expanding upon their sonic technicality.
While there is something intimate to find throughout all of Baroness’ work, Gold & Grey is by far their most fascinating album to date. From the intriguing approach to songwriting to the record’s atmospheric feel, frontman John Baizley and company have sincerely outdone themselves.
The Good: The vocals on “Front Toward Enemy” cry over rampant drum beats and pounding bass, the guitar letting out a lo-fi touch to its electric flow. The song gives off this tremendous rock ‘n’ roll vibe, each instrument contributing their equal share. “I’m Already Gone” displays an interesting duality in its instrumentation; while the bass and guitar play out to a laidback tempo, the drumming progresses to a much more vibrant rhythm. This combination of sounds, along with lyrics such as, “Did I make a huge mistake, when I said your name?/ Oh I miss the sweet perfume, more than gasoline,” help to fully establish the track’s melancholy aura.
The sonic range throughout Gold & Grey explores everything from the radiant twangs on “Tourniquet”, to the uplifting driven “Throw Me an Anchor” and resounding guitar and piano work on “I’d Do Anything”. These tracks, along with the majority of the songs on the album, involve their own unique touch of identity. As one continues through Gold & Grey, each new song brings with it a refreshing appeal, providing something different or a spin on a sound heard previously.
The instrumentals on“Emmett-Radiating Light” use minimal guitar notes and blips of twinkling sound to create a dreamy atmosphere. This presence blends wonderfully with lyrics like, “I’m in a shower of radiating light/ But not where I belong,” creating a duality of emotion that is both lovely and haunting. With its great spread of intriguing compositional structures and sounds, Gold & Grey is an album that offers sincere feeling all the way to the end.
The Bad: At times when the instrumentals lean toward more aggressive playing, the intensity can overpower the presence of the vocals, creating an odd balance in the vocal tone. While this is not an overly noticeable aspect throughout the record, it is an element that sharper ears may pick up on.
The Verdict: Baroness currently find themselves in a place of great maturity, exhibiting superb musicianship. It’s fitting for Gold & Grey to be the conclusion of the band’s color-themed albums. The array of instrumentation and emotion throughout not only make Gold & Grey a joy to listen to, but also an achievement of which Baroness can truly be proud.
Essential Tracks: “Throw Me an Anchor”, “I’d Do Anything”, “Emmett-Radiating Light”