Music Preview: Little Hell by City And Colour

If tattoos were indicative of talent, Dallas Green would rival anyone in the history of music. As it is, he’s still doing pretty well for himself.

Known well to the metal community as the guitarist (and frequent singer) in Alexisonfire, Green is one of very few artists to have two hugely popular outlets for his vast talent. As well as being a cult hero amongst Alexis fans, the inked-up Canadian is also known by a different moniker, that of City and Colour, under which he has released a pair of albums to date.

Aside from having a penchant for body art and a fantastic name – the ‘City and Colour’ name comes from his own, Dallas being the City, Green the Colour – Dallas Green is a very productive and wonderfully tender performer. Far from the pugnacious output of Alexis, C & C has attracted its own hugely loyal following not by association, but on its own merits. The two albums to date – Sometimes and the fantastic Bring Me Your Love – draw on deep wells of sorrow and pain for their main focuses, but never languish in the nadirs of introversion, nor the purgatory of self-pity which so often consumes lesser artists.

City and Colour is a beast all its own, one brimming with wonderful acoustic guitar melodies and Green’s earnest, wide-reaching tenor. The haunting, smoky vocals on the likes of ‘Forgive Me’ or ‘Comin’ Home’ are memorably piercing, and Green’s lyrics, whilst not always totally free from quasi-emo posturing, are often frank, yet poignant.

Little Hell, the third City And Colour release, comes three years after the sophomore wonder that was Bring Me Your Love, but from early reports and the tracks we’ve heard thus far, it shows no signs of abandoning the communicative brilliance which Green specialises in. As the preview track ‘Fragile Bird’ shows us, however, that’s not to say Green’s sound has stagnated. Adding in a more a electric sound to the already well-loved acoustic one – a trick Bob Dylan could tell you doesn’t always placate the fanbase – gives City and Colour another angle to attack from, another weapon to use in what’s already an effective, deliberately pared-down arsenal.

Little Hell, released yesterday, has all the ingredients to be one of the albums of the year. If Dallas Green keeps getting better, he might need to get some more tattoos.

Luke Grundy is a fervent assimilator of media living amid the bright lights of London, England. If he’s not watching films or listening to music, he’s probably asleep, eating or dead. An aspiring writer, journalist and musician, he is the creator of movie/music blog Odessa & Tucson and lives for epistemology.

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