In City and Colour’s latest release, If I Should Go Before You, Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green pours out even more of his dreary heart and soul for the enjoyment, or dismay, of his listeners. This new album is a work of wavy, tantalizing strokes. The deep electronic sound against the percussion sounds as if Green’s own heartbeat were recorded.
The album is lead by long, echoing vocals that reach empty depths inside the body, specifically in the prologue of the album, “Woman,” which is filled with hues of darkness and heart-aching romance.
Although Green is best recognized for progressions in acoustic power chords, especially on his 2008 album Bring Me Your Love, his newest work shows a distinct change of pace in sound. Where there was once a soft linear flow of songs, there is now a forte that speaks to the audience in a transformed, sharp, bluesy thundering of songs, that is still directed by lofty introspection from beginning to end.
The more polished tracks on If I Should Go Before You tend to rise and fall with melancholy and hope that is breathtaking and peaceful. “Mizzy C,” “Map Of The World,” and “Friends” are brutally honest stamps of critique on Green himself and his work as an artist, accompanied by the softness of his own vocals, with piercing riffs and harmonies.
“If I Should Go Before You,” the album’s title track, seems to express a love that is hindered by sorrow, imagined in a final slow dance of life, with flickering notes of electric guitar strings and chords depicting lightness and darkness.
Devotion and pain have always been a staple for Green, and he stays true to this in “Wasted Love” and “Lover Come Back.” The forcefulness of electric feel is strengthened in “Runaway,” where there are distinct twangs of a steel guitar that ring throughout the song.
All that follows is a sense of comfort and retrospect, even in the sharpness of “Killing Time.” The track releases bluesy melodies, uplifting vocals, forceful riffs, and a strong bass that challenges the previous work of City and Colour.
Bolstered by lyrics infused with pure poetry, Green’s voice brings comfort to listeners from all walks of life. Concluding the album is “Blood,” a slow ballad stringed together with light female backup vocals that draw a chilling scene.
From the slow and soulful, to the electric, lively tracks, If I Should Go Before You shows off Green’s diverse talent as a vocalist and songwriter. It’s an album that escapes from time itself, best suited for solitary listening when one can fully appreciate all that it has to offer.