Album Review: “If I Should Go Before You” by City and Colour

Album Review: If I Should Go Before You by City and Colour

City and Colour’s newest release marks a startling shift from a solo folk singer to a blues rock band.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Release Date: Oct. 9

City and Colour emerges for a new album after championing the old folk vibe of the new indie community. The Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green began recording in 2005 and has cemented his name with four stellar albums of poetic artistry. In efforts to keep the focus on the music and off of his personal life, he titled his act “City and Colour,” a clever reference to his first and last names. His crooning voice and passionate words have propelled him to success, with his last two albums reaching the top of the Canadian music charts. Green’s latest release, “If I Should Go Before You,” brings a Nashville-blues feel to his heartfelt lyricism, adding powerful electric guitar and mournful melodies to support his reflective writing.

For years, City and Colour brought an energy to folk music with heavy riffs that provided structure for the lyrical depth of each song. “Comin’ Home” from the album “Sometimes” (2005) uses a dynamic acoustic pattern with a simple yet compelling melody to embody the forlorn message of travelling and loneliness. “If I Should Go Before You” continues to illustrate dark ideas, including death, regret and loss. Green flexes his lyrical prowess, maintaining the intense and thoughtful lines that elevate his music and connect with listeners.

Even though his lyrics stayed true to the brooding quality that characterized his earlier work, in his newest release City and Colour switches from a folk singer-songwriter to a blues/alternative rock star. Green loses the captivating folk elegances that intrigued listeners in his earlier work as he strives to find a new, electric sound. The plodding 9-minute opening track, “Woman,” features a single verse repeated with percussion and harsh, heavily distorted guitar. Despite the power in the words, the cacophonous riffs lack the essence to make them great Nashville hits and alienate the fans that fell in love with “The Girl.” His rougher style is hard to stomach compared to the acoustic quality of his previous albums.

“If I Should Go Before You” shows thematic depth and a robust shift to blues and alternative rock for Green, adding energy to his music. Green worked with a full band, in contrast to older acoustic albums, leaving me wondering if the days of the weary, travelling, folk singer-songwriter in Green are over, and are being replaced by a dreary exploration into Nashville recording studios.

 

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