Overall Score: 9/10 Vocal Deliveries: 10/10 Musical Composition: 9/10 Emotive Impact: 9/10 Pros: Superb vocals | Intricate musicianship | Incredibly emotive Cons: Hardly a flaw | the odd filler track here and there
These days acoustic singer-songwriters are lapped up and spat out into the limelight of popular music left, right and centre. Dallas Green’s side project from Alexisonfire, City and Colour, have regularly been on the scene for about a decade now and in an over-populated scene of acoustic singer-songwriters he is ready with his fifth studio record, If I Should Go Before You. Does City and Colour’s latest opus offer something fresh in a scene that screams for new ideas?
One thing is certain with If I Should Go Before You, this is a record that teases with the listener through melodic and intricate guitar play. Opening track Woman, which clocks in at over nine minutes, is all about atmosphere. Through subtle and intricate guitar play, Dallas Green’s soft vocals creep in, raising the hair on the back of your neck. With soft laces of bass the track roars into life through a chorus that screams the utmost attention.
With City and Colour’s style, it’s beauty is more complicated than one would originally perceived. And perhaps the strongest aspect of If I Should Go Before You is how the record ensnares you with it’s composition and subtle use of varying instruments. Northern Blues presents simple enough guitar riffs backed with intricate solo play that boldly exclaims the feeling of isolation where as Wasted Love’s upbeat rhythm and roaring chorus marks it’s claim as the standout track of the album. In fact, there is so much musical variety within the record, that it is perhaps surprising that the record flows as easily as water.
Whilst a large majority of the tracks feature differing musical arrangements, compositions and structures it is relieving that Dallas Green’s vocals are so consistently brilliant. Whilst the backing music sets the tone, Green’s vocals simply deliver on all levels. His soft whispers, emphatic choruses and romanticising tone is incredibly impressive, with each note sung to absolute perfection displaying the raw emotive power of his voice. Mizzy C’s upbeat vocal deliveries present on the chorus brings the listener up whilst verses flirt with the emotional side of acoustic music. It really adds to the impact of the record and helps deliver one truly wonderful listening experience.
If I Should Go Before You is yet another fantastic offering from City and Colour. Not only does it re-affirm the insane musical talent of Dallas Green, it adds so much more. This is a record of absolute tranquillity, a record that embraces you on it’s journey and by the time the emphatic finale, Blood, is over, you feel lifted. Through it’s raw emotion, intricate display and powerful vocal deliveries, If I Should Go Before You will have you hooked from the first note to the last vocal whisper.
If I Should Go Before You is out now via Dine Alone Records.