City And Colour

The Hurry And The Harm

Written by: CD on 18/06/2013 18:26:53

City And Colour is, for the uninitiated, a word play on Dallas Green’s own name; A city and a colour. With his roots firmly planted in the hardcore scene as a guitarist and backing vocalist with the now defunct Alexisonfire, Dallas Green first began his solo act with “Sometimes” back in 2005 and is now releasing his fourth album under his pseudonym.

Despite evolving into a frontman rather than a solo singer-songwriter with 2011’s "Little Hell" and now "The Hurry And The Harm”, it is still distinctively the sound City And Colour that greets you as you put on the album. A likeness that on the surface is so similar to his first album that the untrained or merely unfamiliar listener would have a hard time distinguishing his new from his old material.

The first five tracks, starting with the namesake of the album, have a sound that is very much the Dallas Green we know. The familiar softspoken lyricism and the acoustic guitar are accompanied by a solid if unimaginative and ultimately bland rhythm section. More interesting perhaps is the inclusion of the organ and the pedal steel guitar, which lend a folksy/country-like vibe to the songs they’re included in. In the end the entire backing band serves as little more than filler though, with Dallas Green unable or maybe simply unwilling to take the focus away from his guitar to allow any of the other instruments to take the spotlight even for a short moment, and it makes you question if he should even have bothered with including them in the first place.

This tendency is perhaps explained in sixth track “Commentators” where Dallas Green opens the song with “I don’t wanna be revolutionary; I’m just looking for the sweetest melody” which is then repeated throughout the song that, as the five previous ones are once again his voice and guitar with a light rhythmic backdrop.

Paradoxically the ensuing “Thirst” is the one track on the album that deviates from the by now almost predictable City And Colour recipe. Beginning with the sound of a rhythm-driven, distorted bass-riff, it immediately stands out to the listener simply because of how different it is. With Dallas Green toughening up his voice the song has a much more rock-like feel to it and provides a nice change of pace even though it, at the end of the day isn’t “revolutionary”.

“The Hurry And The Harm” sounds very much like the Dallas Green we already know and love yet it doesn’t feel like him. Something is different, in a way that can’t quite be put into any technical terms and the best way to put it perhaps that City and Colour is missing the spark that made the sound of one man and his guitar so amazing to begin with. The underlying sincerity and vulnerability that seemed to infuse his early work is gone and no amount of added drum, bass, guitar, pedal steel or organ can hide it.

With the entire song “Golden State” dedicated to the lackluster message of “From time to time I’ll pass on by but I will never stay” it is impossible not to compare it to the similarly dismissive “Comin’ Home”, from his “Sometimes”, album where he casually remarks “I’ve been to Lincoln, Nebraska and hell you know it ain’t worth shit”. So at the end of the day “The Hurry and the Harm” sadly comes off as a disingenuous effort by Dallas Green, whose lyrics end up seeming either flat out generic or like rehashed and far less sincere versions of songs from his first two albums.


Download: Commentators, Thirst
For The Fans Of: Deaf Havana, Dashboard Confessional, Bon Iver

Release Date 04.06.2013
Dine Alone

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