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Album Review: City And Colour - Little Hell

Dallas Green is a busy man. One can only wonder how he finds the time to entertain such a healthy beard. The man juggles between continuous success with Alexisonfire and his solo work in City and Colour, a project which has consistently gone from strength to strength. 'Bring Me Your Love' was already a strong step forward from Sometime, with warmer tones and a greater overall confidence throughout.

His third effort ‘Little Hell’ looks to be continuing in the direction of growth for the canadian multi-tasker. His voice is as ethereal as ever, but this time around is complimented by some even slicker instrumentation and another great step in confidence as far as the songwriting is concerned. Opener ‘We Found Each Other In The Dark’ epitomises exactly what Green has been doing with CIty and Colour for the past few years: some uncompromisingly endearing but subtle acoustic work with some soft country guitar work in the back to pull it off with taste.

‘Grand Optimist’ uses all the same conventions but relinquishes soft charm for a brooding undercurrent brilliantly dictated by Green’s articulate vocal work. ‘Little Hell’ is arguably the strongest track on the album where the gradual crescendo allows the intimacy of his acoustic work to slowly blend into the more round sound of the band as a whole. In fact ‘Fragile Bird’ is probably the best example of Green fully taking advantage of a full set of instruments with a track that mixes opening bass grooves and palm-muted guitar with some Thrice-esque open-chorded chorus experimentations. The song even just enough tasty fuzzed-up guitar licks mid-way to avoid sounding pretentious, it works a marvel.

‘Silver and Gold’ and ‘O’ Sister’ deliver more soulful acoustic meanderings while ‘Weightless’ and ‘Sorrowing Man’ provide some classy laid-back electric guitar work. City And Colour has gone from a more understated acoustic side-project to a fully creditable one that shows as much focus and talent in every aspect. If you haven’t checked any of the previous efforts, ‘Little Hell’ should prove a great entering point and feels like the culmination of everything Green went out to do with City and Colour. Should prove hard to top.


'Little Hell' by City and Colour is available now on Dine Alone Records/Vagrant Records.

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James Berclaz-Lewis

Alter The Press!