I'd heard of City and Colour
, obviously, and gotten a taste of his music here and there. When doing research upon reviewing his newest release If I Should Go Before You
, I saw a picture of frontman Dallas Green, and had to do a double-take. I thought to myself, "This guy with the knuckle tattoos can NOT be the one singing this wholehearted, auditory acoustic agreement that is City and Colour." Then I discovered Green is formerly from post-hardcore Canadian outfit Alexisonfire, and my girl jeans-wearing, belt-buckle-rocking 13 year-old self tried to sneak out real quick. I didn't let it. But it truly added a layer of depth (and respect) to Green and City and Colour for daring to be innovative, and do what he loves. Okay, now back to the album: If I Should Go Before You
is a mystical and allegorical blend of music.
The first track, which is also the first released single, "Woman," might just be what I listen to for the next few weeks. I love that it's lengthy; and when listening you can envision tossing and toying with a lover underwhite 500 thread count sheets. "My love is never-ending, like a sea without a shore," moans Green. The toes are really curling now. This sensual mood bleeds right into the next track, "Northern Blues." With a much more driving tempo in "Northern Blues," who knew City and Colour could take on R&B? The repetition of the guitar and drums work. Think Death Cab's "I Will Possess Your Heart" but City and Colour style. "Mizzy C" has the spotlight on drummer Doug Macgregor who displays an educated taste with his excellent feels. I don't want to give away the whole album here, but the magic just keeps rolling. The next track is the title track, and Green doesn't want to kill the lights. Yet again, the listener can feel themselves tightly pressed to another with "If I Should Go Before You" being the soundtrack.
The next two tracks, "Killing Time," and "Wasted Love," are where Green lets his voice loose. There's a bit more brightness in these songs, be it the additional instruments, or the direction of the piece, but the light is shining. City and Colour remind me of the Black Keys, but dare I say Better? (Please don't shoot!) But his ability to be melodic, vocal, and bluesy make Green a musical conglomerate, which is exactly why he is certainly worth raving about.
If I Should Go Before You
finishes similar to how it starts -- with this consonance and reverb. This album does a remarkable job of enabling the listener to paint a picture to the tunes. City and Colour's magic is exactly this: a microscope on the nickel that lines the neck of Green's acoustic, and the lyrical diversity that is a myriad of confessions and heart-throb. I actually think the knuckle tattoos add a bit of flavor. Dare I say, it adds a bit of "colour?"
[Ed. Note: And be sure to check out our exclusive sessionwith City & Colour below.]