Yellow & Green is the third studio album by Georgia’s four-piece Baroness that was released in May, 2011. Even if sludge-rock isn’t the kind of genre that inspires you, you would have to be relatively unreceptive not to appreciate lead singer, John Dyer Baizley’s, artwork. Following a colour theme throughout their previous albums (red album and blue record) these colours are used as frameworks for the music. All of Baizley’s artwork is created with ink and watercolours: the ink is used because it is a permanent medium, a technique Baizley has used for eight years now.
The album itself is an epic gatefold made especially for vinyl as Baizley has expressed that vinyl is the only medium that music should be experienced on. It depicts five Baroque-esque women among an abundance of swans, flowers and shrimp. The artist has explained that the idea came from a Caravaggio painting “where they were crowning Jesus with thorns and there are five dynamic figures composed in this amazing way,” (Shannon, 2012) adding that the women “represent some experience and some dream.”
There is also heavy influence through Greek, Roman, Scandinavian and Babylonian mythologies. These become focal points within the artwork and by applying this iconography they become mythologies of their own, “mythology that works for the music.” There are many signifiers within the artwork, each of the women are depicted with a different headset: a tooth reef, the fertilized eggs, the sacrificial nature of the woman with the knife to the throat of the swan, the nails in the mouths of the animals. One of the woman’s headsets (she is also holding a mallet) depicts the religious nature of the imagery portraying the final sacrifice: the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As for the way in which the imagery relates to the music, Baizley has articulated that the music comes first and then the iconography and imagery afterwards. Baizley also applies his artistic talents to other bands and their album artwork; some of these include Skeletonwitch, Gillian Welch and the Flight of the Conchords.
AUDIO VISUAL is MONOLITH‘s weekly focus on notable album artwork.