Review: Baroness – Purple
Cooking Vinyl Australia
It’s unfair that Baroness have released Purple this close to the end of 2015, because it means whatever album was sitting at the top of your Best of the Year list has been irrefutably knocked back to second place.
Purple is the band’s most prog-rock sounding release so far, with a strong emphasis on sprawling sounds, layered sound-effects, and John Baizley’s soaring choruses; particularly on tracks “Chlorine & Wine”, “If I Have To Wake Up”, and the instrumental “Fugue”. “Morningstar” and “Try To Disappear” still tote those crunchy sludge riffs that we all know and love, which hit your ears like a tidal wave of metal. “Kerosene” is the most traditionally metal track on the album, exploding into its chorus as if someone had just tossed a lit match into a puddle of its namesake. There’s also an instrumental section in “Shock Me” that features a guitar solo so damn tasty you’ll salivate just thinking about it.
This is the first album to feature bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson, who joined shortly after the release of Yellow & Green, and they both do a bang-up job here – especially Thomson on “The Iron Bell”. It’s also the first Baroness record produced by David Fridmann, whose previous work with acts like The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala can definitely be felt on the album’s more prog sounding elements.
Baroness are one of the most consistently great acts currently putting out albums, with every release making it even harder to pick a favourite among them. Each record sees the band’s sound evolving in the most organic way possible. Place Purple beside Red Album; the latter may be a much more heavier and sludgier album, but the path between the two is obvious. Each new record sees the band improving upon their strengths and creating the best possible music they can – and they started pretty damn strong to begin with.
Go have yourself a Purple Christmas.
Purple is out December 18 through Cooking Vinyl Australia.