Dallas Green was the rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist of the Canadian post-hardcore band, Alexisonfire, from 2001 to 2011. Green started writing songs that leaned more on the folk side in 2005. During this time, Green released songs under the recording pseudonym, City and Colour. City and Colour released their fifth studio effort, If I Should Go Before You, on Oct. 9 via Dine Alone Records.
“Woman” is an epic, sprawling album opener that clocks in at nine minutes and 17 seconds. Green certifies the fact that his infatuation is so unyielding that it will surpass the demise of the cosmos. “Woman” sounds like classic rock and even has a Pink Floyd vibe to it.
“Northern Blues” changes the album’s mood. This song has a bubbly bass-line. Green possesses a soothing voice that has the ability to make a listener feel like they are wrapped in garments worthy of royalty. It is up to the listener if they prefer satin, silk or velvet. Because “Northern Blues” is four minutes shorter than the album opener, this song is easier to listen to than “Woman.” This song may leave some listeners wondering what exactly Green is referring to in the line “Three hundred thousand hours/Still I remain hungry for the lie.” What could have happened in those 520 days?
“Mizzy C” sounds a bit happier than the first two songs on the album. Green talks about how people eventually become discontent with the direction that their lives are going. Although people become discontent, they would rather continue to live a stagnant and predictable life than face an unknown future.
The title track of the album has a similar melancholy theme that was introduced on “Woman.” Again, Green reiterates that his love will transcend death. Death is not something that is capable of ending love. The ghost will haunt the living until they are reunited in the afterlife.
“Killing Time” flip flops the somber tone of “If I Should Go Before You.” City and Colour get into their groove during the bridge after the second chorus. Green warns listeners to get a jump start on establishing their identity. The speaker of the album gives fair warning. Next thing you know, there will be “lines forming on [your] hands and face.”
Love is usually depicted as a tender emotion. This is not the case on the track “Wasted Love.” Green goes to the polar opposite and depicts love as something that is rough, calloused and deceptive. Green advocates that your heart cannot always be trusted. Love usually provides people with happiness, but it can also be a negative force that confines and deprives people. Love sets up parameters that restrict people from doing things that truly make them happy. Once you fall in love, there are certain limitations that are imposed upon yourself.
In conclusion, if you are a listener who is looking for the characteristics that were found on Alexisonfire’s material, If I Should Go Before You will probably disappoint. City and Colour has slower tempos, subdued and restrained melodies, smooth bass-lines and graceful percussion. If you want to blow off steam, listen to Alexisonfire. If you want to contemplate about romance, then City and Colour is right up your alley.