Release Date: Oct 9, 2015
Record label: Dine Alone
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Canadian singer/songwriter Dallas Green's long-tenured solo project City and Colour finally gels as a band on their strong fifth LP, If I Should Go Before You. What began as an outlet for his quieter, folk-based material eventually took the former Alexisonfire singer away from post-hardcore altogether and landed him atop the Canadian charts with a string of platinum records. In some ways, If I Should Go Before You is a culmination of the sturdy pop sound he's built up over the years that weaves through territories of dreamy indie folk, pastoral Americana, and soulful alt-rock.
From the psychedelic solos to the slightly R&B rhythms, surprises abound on City and Colour's new LP. Yes, you read that right: the acoustic pop balladeer born Dallas Green and famed for his skeletally arranged early hits positively cuts loose on If I Should Go Before You.Opening track "Woman," for instance, boasts roaring guitar solos and ambient production. And midway track "Killing Time," perhaps the album's best song, has funky, herky-jerky guitar work that's a cross between Los Lobos and a lost Motown classic.
The soundtrack to your next duvet day. It’s 10 years now since Dallas Green stepped away from his punk roots in Alexisonfire and waded into the calmer waters of his solo project City And Colour..
There’s something special about a singer-songwriter whose ambitions are such that he or she is compelled to shed their given name and adapt a handle that indicates there’s an entire band at work in the background. If nothing else, it takes the artist beyond the typical solo performer syndrome, suggesting that there’s a greater vision at work behind the scenes. Or else, it gives rise to the suspicion that maybe there’s a bit of false pretense as well.
Contemplating mortality is a favorite trope of the singer-songwriter. Per the title of City And Colour’s fifth full-length, though, what about contemplating mortality in the context of a committed relationship? In the hands (and voice) of Dallas Green, this becomes an existential, breathtaking crisis with new legs. It’s indicated at the outset with nine-minute-long opener “Woman,” easily the longest and perhaps most interesting song Green’s penned since launching this solo project in 2004.
Fifth song Killing Time on City and Colour's fifth album finds Dallas Green facing an identity crisis. "Lately I've been thinking about just who I'm supposed to be," he sings in his effortless falsetto, which is the star throughout the record. It's little wonder. Over 15 years, Green has gone from tattooed screamer in Alexisonfire to hit-making singer/songwriter to superstar Canrocker who makes collaborative albums with Pink (and opens for Neil Young) and, on his new record, R&B-leaning crooner.