The first question to be answered about City and Colour’s fourth album is how cathartic we should expect to feel from it. From first listen, it’s certainly the happiest of his albums.
There is still a City and Colour feel to it, with slow tempos, strumming guitars and that feeling that hearts have been broken. However, his usual theme of ‘better days have been and gone’ with previous records, has been refreshingly tuned down.
In fact, by his second track ‘Harder than stone’ it appears that his music has become more enlightening than depressing.
City and Colour has been loved for his ability to express dark emotions in a way that other people can relate to. From the view of an avid fan of Dallas Green, although he’s not offering the same sadness we expect, he has tastefully changed the tone of his work.
Don’t get me wrong though, his lyrics still address the hardships of life and twist the perks of happiness. ‘The Lonely Life’ is a love song, telling his love that he would be lonely without her, but he does this by describing the life of a homeless man.
In comparison to his archive of work, it’s clear that City and Colour have had an uplifting makeover. This can also be recognised through the inspiring and political messages integrated into the songs. ‘Commenters’ is a song for all those who have been judged before. The main guitar riff rings out a happy, catchy melody over a harmonically simple backdrop.
Another enlightening track mentioned previously is ‘Harder than stone’, packed out with uplifting lyrics like ‘My heart will roam in search of warmth’. The musical backing to this song is simple but epic, using his famous trick of strumming the same rhythm and letting strings do the atmospheric work.
If you’re a fan of City and Colour, don’t feel disheartened by the changes this review has described. He has included a track called ‘Death’s Song’ that will give you the deep emotional desire that we all crave from his work. It’s the last track on the album and is as dramatically produced as you’re imagining; with a vast array of strings, drones, huge drum sounds as he sings: ‘This is my death song.’
A particular favourite from the album is the opening and title track, ‘Hurry and the Harm’. It seems to incorporate all of the new aspects that he’s trying to integrate into his sound; holding onto his roots as a guitarist and poetic lyrics, whilst introducing a new element of joy through the fullest band sound he’s created yet.
Will his fifth album be a continuation of this enlightening journey he seems to be taking? Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another two years to find out.