City And Colour

Little Hell

Written by: TL on 10/07/2011 23:19:50

"Little Hell" is the third album from the hand of Dallas Green, rhythm guitarist, pianist and clean singer in Alexisonfire, and main man in City And Colour, the side-project in which he has fathered this album as well as prior ones "Sometimes" and "Bring Me Your Love". On "Little Hell", things are not much changed from "Bring Me Your Love". Green is still exploring a chilled, folksy expression, and while the arrangements seem to have become slightly more delicate, it is still the man's voice that is the centre of attention, and hence most prior fans should be at least moderately pleased.

Green's singing sounds something like a cool, gentle stream, running down a snow-capped mountain with pines on the side. An overly picturesque description perhaps, but I trust those who know City & Colour will find it quite accurate nonetheless, and I'm guessing it intrigues you all a bit more than if I just flatly wrote that Green sings well (this should be a well-known fact by now anyway). However, I get the feeling from "Little Hell" that the man is maturing, and unfortunately not for the better (at least artistically) because some of the edge, or perhaps the urgency, that used to characterise his songs, is seemingly not to be found in the rather laid-back, thoughtful compositions on this record.

That I find has made the listening experience a bit more easily forgettable, compared to "Bring Me Your Love", and while "Little Hell" still has a few memorable songs in its title track, "The Grand Optimist" and "O' Sister", I'm hard pressed to say that any of them measure up to the likes of "The Girl" or "Sleeping Sickness". Could be Green has grown more content, or could be inspiration for what to do with as scarce instrumentation as he swears to is running dry for the moment. In the latter case, maybe one could suggest that Green consider experimenting with putting some instruments in focus on his future work. Not that they're used poorly here, indeed they are as atmospheric as ever, and "Little Hell" is by no means a bad record, yet compared to "Bring Me Your Love", it seems like a slightly pale shade, and for that reason it seems prudent to ask if notsome change would be in order for the next album? There's a little going on towards the end of the album, but it seems to me it's not quite enough.

7

Download: The Grand Optimist, Little Hell, O' Sister
For The Fans Of: Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie,
Listen: soundcloud.com/vagrantrecords/sets/city-and-colour

Release Date 07.06.2011
Vagrant Records

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