City and Colour started as a side project for Alexisonfire vocalist Dallas Green, but as years have gone by and more albums are released under his solo moniker, his popularity as a singer/songwriter has surpassed his role in the band that gave him his real musical start. With every record Dallas and company (a more solid band line-up is in place this time ’round) raise the bar in terms of substance. Seeing the evolution of a musician like Dallas Green is what makes true music fans rejoice; it gives us a glimmer of hope for music in the future.
Little Hell, City and Colour’s forthcoming album, slated for a June 7th release, surpasses all of his previous work in all facets that bear any musical relevance. His vocal performance on this album is not one that will be soon forgotten; in fact, I believe only another City and Colour album would do the trick in that regard. Musically, they have made some drastic changes: there are undeniable blues influences in this album, and he lets the genre bleed nicely into his trademark style. C&C has strayed from their predominately folk sound, forsaking banjos and harmonicas this time around. The electric guitar takes a front seat, as well as full band instrumentation, which facilitates the soaring vocals we hear in Alexisonfire songs with the allure of City and Colour. The musicianship in general has improved greatly, as C&C blends sounds extremely well in LH.
The lyrics in LH are a lot more singular, as opposed to the generality that applied Bring Me Your Love, but that does not mean they are irrelevant to the plights of his listeners. His lyrics, much like those in Sometimes, reassure us that Dallas Green is in fact human, which I find more comforting than solemn words of advice. This album reaches a happy medium between his first two. There is a clever air about the songs on Little Hell as well, and this alone demands more than one thorough listen to the entire album.
Skeptical fans need not worry too much; BMYL-esque songs are there, but they aren’t the centerpiece. This album is not for the half-hearted fans of “The Girl,” it is one for music fans. Dallas Green clearly made the album he wanted to make, and sure he may lose a few fans for the change of sound, but he what he will lose from the half-hearted he will gain tenfold from his most faithful. Little Hell is an instant classic, and it would be criminal to music to refer to it in any other manner.
Take a listen to the entire album here, while you can.