Today I’m going to write a review of the newest City and Colour album, The Hurry and the Harm. I’ll go ahead and spoil the entire thing by telling you that it’s going to be a rave review. But I just had to discuss this album at some point in this blog because Dallas Green really nailed it with this one. I think he’s phenomenal anyway (I’d go so far as to say he’s probably my favorite living musician), but this release just made me so happy because it’s got some truly gorgeous work on it.
Image courtesy of http://www.dinealonerecords.com.
Compared with his other solo work under the City and Colour moniker, The Hurry and the Harm delivers some of the richest songs in terms of additional instrumentation and background vocals. His first City and Colour release, Sometimes, was much more raw, with the majority of the songs featuring just an acoustic guitar and/or piano and Dallas’s trademark angelic voice. Bring Me Your Love was similar in terms of sound, though he began experimenting a bit with slightly more pop-influenced songs without straying from his folksy sound. Unfortunately, with Little Hell he began experimenting a little too much. I could never say I hated a City and Colour album (because I definitely have never felt that way!), but Little Hell had far fewer songs I loved and more songs that were just “okay.”
Thankfully, with the release of The Hurry and the Harm, Dallas Green got the experimentation right: fresh music without losing his signature sound. Although “Thirst” (track 7 on the new album) is a huge departure from the “typical” City and Colour song, it’s still distinctly Dallas … And super catchy! I find myself singing it all the time (along with “This Lonely Life” [track 4] and the melodic “Of Space and Time” [track 3]).
One of my favorite things about the album, though, is the nod to his other (now defunct) band, Alexisonfire. As a huge Alexisonfire fan (I talked Eric into flying to Montreal with me back in 2010 just so I could see them in concert!), I really appreciated the subtle inclusion of lyrics from their song “Born and Raised” (from their last full-length album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals) in the song “Harder Than Stone” (track 2 on the new album). It’s even better considering the theme of “Harder Than Stone” … It could almost be read as an apology letter to Alexisonfire for choosing to leave the band in order to focus on his solo project (which subsequently resulted in their official breakup), but it also could be read as an ode to growing up. Either way, it was the perfect song to add these lyrics to.
I obviously love this album. Eric and I will be seeing City and Colour in October in Kansas City (my second time seeing City and Colour and my third time seeing Dallas Green live), and as I listen to The Hurry and the Harm, I grow more and more excited about the show. I hope that all subsequent City and Colour albums are this amazing … I can’t wait to see how Dallas Green continues to grow as an artist!
This was taken when I last saw him live (City and Colour show) in Omaha at The Slowdown. Personal photo.