City and Colour – The Hurry And The Harm
Dallas Green is one of today’s most discerning and able songwriters and this is but another small slice of what the man and his band are capable of.
The arrival of a new City and Colour record always brings about the same question: how will the Canadian songbird Dallas Green sculpt an album around his near infallible vocals? Thankfully, The Hurry And The Harm does not disappoint. What was once a humble side project has now become the vocalist’s full-time objective, and the dedication to his craft shows. The title track and opener is a soothing ease-in to what’s an ultimately pleasant listen, not to mention it’s riddled with token “Dallas” moments – you know the ones. Sweet, heavenly vocals, soft melodies… Only now, building off of what he started on 2011’s Little Hell, they’ve been beefed up with strings, drums, bass and an electric guitar, Green’s once folky acoustic goodness now reaping the rewards of being fleshed out by a full band.
It’s a far cry from the singer’s first full-length, 2005’s Sometimes, yet he’s still managed to maintain that inherent delicateness. “Ladies And Gentlemen” and “Two Coins” are hauntingly beautiful in their own right, while the “London Calling”-esque beat of “Lonely Life” is proof of the band’s ability to steer towards something more upbeat and happening. The lyrics themselves are heavily rooted in Green’s own internal dilemma of finding his place in the world along with a balance between his post-hardcore persona in the much-loved Canadian quintet Alexisonfire and his desire to pen something a little less pummelling. When “Harder Than Stone” rears its head, you’re quickly reminded of Alexisonfire’s last full-length, Old Crows / Young Cardinals (2009). “Born and raised to live beyond/The heft and weight of a world undone” may ring more than a few bells for dedicated fans (the lyrics being directly lifted from the “Born And Raised” chorus), which will either have you onside early, or act as a slap in the face as you’re reminded of the role Green played in breaking up the band. Regardless, there’s a mellow friendliness in his voice that makes it hard to hold a grudge, particularly when “Thirst” sounds as though it could double as an unplugged Alexis track.
Although things drop off slightly towards the album’s end, Green’s “mediocre” still manages to eclipse many of his contemporaries at their best. Dallas Green is one of today’s most discerning and able songwriters and this is but another small slice of what the man and his band are capable of.
The Essential Track: “Harder Than Stone”: Delicate Dallas at his folky best and it packs Alexisonfire lyrics to boot. We’re sold.