City And Colour - If I Should Go Before You - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

City And Colour - If I Should Go Before You

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2015-10-16
City and Colour, the singer/songwriter alias for Canadian artist Dallas Green, is set to release their fifth proper album with If I Should Go Before You. As with any genre of music, indie/folk (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) can be a tough place to swim as there is a fine line between 'staying true to yourself' and 'redundant'. If I Should Go Before You is almost a sweeping success in this regard (almost being the key word here) as it impressivly breaks some new sonic ground for Green while still keeping his expertly crafted melodies front and center.
This time around, Green decided to bring his backing band to the sessions, and the result is a record that almost sounds like it was cut 'live' on the floor, save for Green's polished/prduced vocals.  In fact, If I Should Go Before You, with it's 'crooner/rocker' dichotomy, almost instantly recalls the record the late Jeff Buckley 'coulda/woulda/shoulda' made.
The album opens with the absolutely riveting "Woman", an almost ten minute long explosion of a song that just drips with desire and is by far the strongest track here.  Likewise, songs like "Northern Blues" (oh that snare!) and "Mizzy C" continue to the album's upbeat (almost driving) pace.  Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that there isn't really much left in the tank following the strong opening salvo of songs, as the remainder of the album tends to settle back into a somewhat predictable groove that is more reminicent of previous City and Colour releases.  
This isn't necessarily a bad thing mind you, as songs like "Lover Come Back", "Friends", and "Blood" are all memorable gems in their own right.  The melodies and vocals are strong throughout and the band sounds impressivly tight from front to back, but it's hard not to find yourself craving the majestic heights from the front half of the record as you get deeper into it's track list.
All of that being said, If I Should Go Before You is a welcome (if not somewhat unbalanced) addition to the City and Colour catalog, and represents a good place to jump on for the uninitiated while also giving longtime Dallas Green fans plenty to sink their teeth into.

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