It’s been a while since we heard from City and Colour. 2013’s release The Hurry and The Harm was well received by fans and critics alike. In the intermittent years between The Hurry and The Harm and City and Colour’s latest full-length, If I Should Go Before You, Dallas Green has been a bit of a busy chap.
In 2014 the Canadian singer-songwriter collaborated with long-time friend Alecia Moore (or P!nk to the the rest of us) on a project called you+me, and releasing a record – ‘rose ave.’ He also reunited with his old band mates in post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire, for an incendiary show at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals.
‘If I Should Go Before You’ is the first record on which Dallas Green has exercised his producing muscles, and it seems he can add sumptuous production to his long list of musical attributes.
The record is the best representation of City and Colour’s live aesthetic. Five records, numerous sold-out tours and thousands upon thousands of record sales in, City and Colour is more than just Dallas Green. The album features and was written with his touring band: bassist Jack Lawrence, guitarist Dante Schwebel, multi-instrumentalist Matt Kelly and drummer Doug MacGregor.
Opening tracks ‘Woman’ and ‘Northern Blues’ hint at a blues-driven sound, which is a welcome experimentation. Title track ‘If I Should Go Before You’ is a melancholy tune, which explores the odd juxtaposition of wanting a lover to move on if you die first, whilst simultaneously not wanting to move on if the roles are reversed.
Ever the tortured soul, standout track ‘Friends’ delicately hints at the feeling that something is still missing despite righting old wrongs – ‘There’s a line I’m trying to find, between the water and the open sky’, Dallas sings mournfully. Here’s to hoping he finds it, but if not finding it means more City and Colour records, maybe it's better he doesn't.