July 6, 2013
Record Reactions: City And Colour – The Hurry And The Harm
Welcome to Record Reactions, where I share my thoughts on a new release from the worlds of popular and independent music. Today’s record is The Hurry and the Harm by City and Colour. City and Colour is an alternative and folk project by Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green. Though Green has been writing songs since he was 16, he has only been active under with City and Colour since 2004. The Hurry and the Harm is his fourth LP under that moniker.
I had never heard an album by City and Colour before. I had heard from friends that he was great – they were in love with his voice, and the sharp, beautiful tracks he put together.
Upon first listen, I had to agree with every report I heard. I immediately fell in love with Green’s voice; it’s simply gorgeous, a robust tenor that is capable of soaring high into the upper registers. Though it is technically perfect, he also delivers emotional performance with it – just enough. He’s spent quite a few years screaming in a post-hardcore band, but I feel as though Dallas Green is meant to be in front of an acoustic band, strummed open guitar chords backing him.
This is a pop/acoustic/singer-songwriter album, so there isn’t much in the way of groundbreaking innovation to be expected. But that might actually be where the best qualities of this record lie. The Hurry and the Harm is just a remarkably consistent and perfectly executed record of this style. And while that may keep it from achieving Hall of Fame level excellence, it certainly makes it listenable ad infinitum.
The first five or so songs on this record operate from a similar style of music; all are soft, richly produced songs, but they share qualities of vocal performance and song structure. At this point, though, I’m not complaining of boredom. Rather, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the formula.
On track six, though, City and Colour completely break up the monotony with what can be seen as the album’s mission statement. Commentators, a romping little number, speaks of people like me who are trying to assign nebulous quality to music like this. “I’m not looking to be revolutionary,” sings Green, “I’m just looking for the sweetest melody.”
From there, every tune offers a different look. Thirst is a harder, thumpier tune with more fuzz, rougher around the edges. Two Coins is a big band jam that lurches along, injured, until a worthy breakdown and payoff. Take Care is an acoustic, fingerpicked number that expands as heartfelt strings soar beneath it. Through these different musical passes, the only constant is Green’s voice. It’s still as beautiful as ever, but through these distinctive songs we’ve learned of its variety.
The collection of songs on The Hurry and the Harm, with their lush, well-produced arrangements, complement Dallas Green’s brilliant voice perfectly. The emotion and the structure of these tunes, while they might not be groundbreaking, are beautiful and entertaining to listen to. And that’s more than enough for an album like this. As Green said himself, he’s not looking to be revolutionary. He’s just looking for the sweetest melody.
Favorite Tracks: The Hurry and the Harm, Harder Than Stone, Commentators
Least Favorite Tracks: Death Song
Remember these reviews are just my opinion, and that little number up there doesn’t mean much! Have you heard this album? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? If you would like to let me know your opinion, you can hit me up on my email, or tweet at me @RobinCopple1. I am dying to know what you think! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the flipside! Stay tuned.
Image Credit: City and Colour