Lots of anticipation has followed the upcoming release from Dallas Green’s side project City and Colour, following a series of small appearances and snippets of releases to really get the excitement flowing. Can this release possibly top previous releases, which tapped into the raw and untouched emotions of people all over the globe or will it be much of the same?

First track Woman immediately sends chills down your spine with a brooding feedback-fuelled introduction that slowly reaches a head with the introduction of the slow pulse of the drum beat, high-pitched chords and mellow vocals in a nine minute odyssey of raw emotion. Northern Blues keeps up this gloomy guise with a similar formula before Mizzy C takes over with its root entrenched in the blues with powerful vocals, moody chords and even a guitar solo with a hip-shaking rhythm.

Title track If I Should Go Before You slows right down with a Western saloon-esque introduction that wouldn’t be out of place in the Deathproof soundtrack and demonstrates everything everybody loves about City and Colour; it has emotive and powerful lyrics, soul-soothing vocals and instrumentals as soft as clouds. This juxtaposes heavily to tracks like Wasted Love and Runaway which speed it up ever so slightly and rush you straight out of your comfort zone with a more ballzy, rock feel accompanied with wailing vocals; before the feel-good vibes with sombre lyrics that is Lover Come Back. A personal favourite track of mine, it combines a country-folk mashup tempo with sombre, heart-breaking lyrics that make you stop in your tracks when you’re happily singing along and swaying and think about what you’re actually doing. Similarly in Map Of The World and Friends boasting the most soothing instrumentals and vocals with tear-inducing lyrics that are bound to have lighters in the air and people thinking long and very hard at shows in the near future.

Blood ends the album on a poignant and atmospheric high in the same formula as the album began, with a slow and winding introduction that eventually reaches a crescendo with echoing vocals, tinkling chords that quickly reach and emotionally-wrought high and the introduction of the drums like a steadily racing heartbeat reacting to the words being relayed, before the silence marked by the end of the album makes every listener take a deep, exhausted breath.

Once more, City and Colour has knocked the ball right out of the park with this breath-taking release that has it all. From emotional lyrics to soothing instrumentals that can also jolt you right out of your calm state into an electrifying stupor and above all, passion for what they are creating.

cityandcolour.com