City and Colour has released, as of 12:00 AM today, their first single from the upcoming and anticipated release, Little Hell. The song is called “Fragile Bird” and for hastiness’s sake, the song is damn good. It may seem like a far cry from the barebones song-and-string Dallas Green some fans are used to, but nevertheless it is a quality piece of sound. To be quite honest, having attended a live show, watched interviews, and heard what songs he has covered over the last couple of years, this song does not surprise me, nor will it surprise many hardcore Green fans, I’d wager. To most, however, it would seem a long shot from what you’re used to from Dallas. Though it may not surprise, it was exactly what I was looking for from the band. Yes, the band! It would seem that Green has solidified his line-up, with mostly his touring band from Bring Me Your Love, and has hunkered down, producing something a little more large scale than what he has previously done solo.
On to the song: if you have never heard Dallas before, and you heard this song, you might think it was from the 90’s. If I had to label this song with a reference to another band for someone who has never heard them, I would say a “bluesy Radiohead.” The song is completely absent of acoustic guitar, which might come as a shock to some, but it would not bother me a bit if the whole record was absent of it (which isn’t the case for you skeptics) solely because Dallas Green knows how to make music. The guitar is all electric with a bluesy vibe, though you can definitely hear some grunge there. Percussion is standard, using your everyday kit, like usual. The arrangement is pure-Green, in that you hear the soaring chorus and short bridges. There are however some nice subtle nuances among the plainly visible changes. The guitar creeps on you, until it reaches its peak before the first chorus, and it definitely keeps you listening. Did I mention there is a guitar solo? Look for some awesome improvs on it in his live show; it should be a treat. This isn’t the folky vibe we are used to, but it is amazing all the same.
Some fans might not even recognize the song aside from Green’s signature vocals, which improve on every record that he does. Those who have been with him from the beginning will see him fondly with this song, like it was something that they grew up with, and is reaching its true potential. First-time listeners will not be able to refrain from being impressed, at least a little bit, by this song. This one breaks some genre barriers that Green may have been pigeonholed into. This is also an extremely radio-friendly song. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it on a top-40 station. Lyrically speaking, structure and subject alike, Green stays true to his signature style with this one, which I think is very important, considering all the other changes.
I feel like this song is the perfect precursor to the new record, Little Hell, as it shows growth and it shows a lot of change. The fact that he has strayed so far yet stayed just enough in his realm is very promising for his music. This one will garner a lot of attention in the growing months towards its release. It is for these releases that music fans really get excited, myself included. The sad part? That his die-hard faithful will never be able to contain his growing popularity with this one. If he wasn’t already big in the U.S., he will be now.
Listen for yourself here, at NME!