Cherwell

Review: City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You

★★★★☆

 Four Stars

I first experienced the magic of City and Colour at fourteen years old, sitting on a beach in France, sipping WKD, dreamily listening to ‘The Girl’ from City and Colour’s 2008 album Bring Me Your Love. ‘The Girl’ is representative of Dallas Green’s – aka City and Colour’s – early acoustic folk sound. Deeply romantic, with a melancholic nostalgia, it informed my music taste during several teenage angst-filled years. Just as I matured over the next seven years, so too has City and Colour’s sound developed, revealed in his album If I Should Go Before You, which came out on 9th October. Moving away from the simple folky guitar and voice combination of his early music, in this last album City and Colour has a more electronic sound. This is epitomised in the smoky nine-minute-long opening track ‘Woman’, whose minimalistic mixture of electronic guitar, voice and drums sets up the meditative yet intense tone of the album. The track ‘If I Should Go Before You’ retains City and Colour’s sorrowful disposition, (Green once stated that the “best music” for him is “sad music”). Yet the song’s bluesy/ psychedelic vibes suggest a development in City and Colour’s treatment of melancholy, followed up in the bluesy tracks ‘Killing Time’ and ‘Lover Come Back’. However, it’s not all so serious – the track ‘Map Of The World’ is much more cheerful, with a strong beat and uplifting melody. Bizarrely though, this is at odds with the song’s lyrics, as Green comments on his “weary face”, stating “beneath the tidal wave I will be erased”. Apparently he just can’t rid himself of his tendency to melancholy. However, rather than that being a problem, I would say it adds to the effect. It helps me daydream, as if I were fourteen years old again.