If 2015 is the year of the singer-songwriter, City and Colour’s newest album “If I Should Go Before You” ought to be considered a top player. City and Colour’s fourth major album is a major step for Dallas Green both musically and lyrically. Of course, Dallas Green, singer-songwriter, has always had the vocal chops to send any lover swooning. In fact, City and Colour is probably most well-known for its lush vocals pervasive through every album. City and Colour has long been aspiring for a completely and fully musical album, and at long last “If I Should Go Before You” delivers this well-rounded sound Green has been working towards. This album connects Green’s dreamy vocals as another instrument rather than allowing them to be the centerpiece, offering us a glimpse into the true musical genius Green really is.
The nine minute opener “Woman” is a brooding march punctuated with angry guitar licks, contributing to an ominous vibe that is contrastive to City and Colour’s humble folk beginnings. Adding electro vibes allows the songs to have a brighter overall sound, but a palpable darkness woven throughout adds to the emotions Green attempts to pull out of us. As the album progresses, we are teased with the introduction of more bare-boned acoustic sounds more commonly associated with City and Colour. The epic finale “Blood” is perfectly reminiscent of the stripped down and raw sound we loved in “The Hurry and the Harm”. This transition from inexplicable loss to understanding is a welcome departure from Green’s typical beauty/sadness dichotomy. Other notable songs on this album are “Runaway” and “Map of the World” which are slightly more polished and rooted in sturdier progressions. The celestial “Friends” is probably the strongest piece, in my opinion.
Green’s musical development can be heard in the phrasing and contouring of each song and in the album’s seamless transitions. “If I Should Go Before You” is a bold album that assures us that as long as Dallas Green continues to adapt and revamp his sound, we can continue to look forward to more projects in the future. Overall, this is a well-rounded venture highlighting City and Colour’s developing songwriting techniques, and presents the listeners with a truly transcendent experience.