Dallas Green and company are back with another great acoustic based album. Some people have said that they do not like the new full band sound as much as the solo acoustic stuff. I think they should clarify that they don’t like the full band focus. I think the band and additional instruments are great, as long as they are just that, additions. The main draw of this band has always been Dallas Green and his beautiful voice.
This album seems to have found the right balance. The band is a nice support to Green and provides a nice sound platform for him. The Hurry and the Harm will fit nicely into the discography that they always have. One of City and Colour’s other strength is Green’s brutal honesty and heartfelt lyrics and they are most definitely on display here.
The title track, “The Hurry and The Harm”, starts off the album. It really eases into the album. Green’s signature powerful yet gorgeous vocals are front and center. I like the bluesy feel and the use of the slide guitar. I also love how the song closes simply with the words, “I’m going back to the start.”
The next tune, “Harder Than Stone” is one of my favorites on the disc. This song is a little more upbeat, there is a nice bounce to it. The repeating chorus of “I am not afraid of dying, cold and alone”, is dark but honest. The bridge hits, and is not only poignant lyrically but it also turns into an enchanting and memorable outro complete with oooohs. The words, “When I was young, I didn’t know too much. I thought that I could rule the world. Then I grew up, found out life was hard, harder than stone” are brutally honest and amazing. I also really liked the nod to his old band Alexisonfire by inserting some lyrics from his old band’s song, “Born and Raised”
“Of Space and Time” follows and is the second part of the amazing one-two punch. I love this laid back indie tune. This song is the most relevant example of how this band is a Dallas Green vehicle. This not meant to discredit or insult his band. It takes some talented musicians to make such fantastic sonic beds for Green’s vocals to lay gently on. “I’m trying to find my direction home. A question of space, a matter of time.” This song seems to be talking about he always yearns for home despite his nomadic lifestyle.
The bass line in “The Lonely Life” is hearty and gives a song an almost pogo like rhythm. This song is a testament to the fact that despite as successful and well regarded Green has become, he still worries that he will be forgotten and disregarded. With this album added to his already impressive back catalog, I highly doubt that will ever be an issue. The next song “Paradise” sounds like a request for some a place of rest from all of the stresses of life.
The next song is somewhat of a dig at the critics. It can be difficult pouring yourself into some art and then having people give opinions, positive or negative. “Commentators” is a chance for Green to take a shot back at the critics here. Although I don’t think he owes any of his critics anything, one of his strengths is expressing the things on his mind frankly. Obviously this is important to him.
“Thirst” is the heaviest and most rocking full band tune on the album, and it rocks! There is more of Green’s stark honesty on the tune, “Two Coins”. He croons, “I’ve always been dark, with light somewhere in the distance.” That is a really heavy statement and the song has a heavy tone but there is also this subtle sweetness to it as well, that helps to soften the blow. This song is really neat.
The song, “Take Care” has such a simple message which makes sense as the song is simple as well. Just Dallas Green and acoustic guitars. “Take better care of yourself, my friend. For you never know when it will all come to an end.” “Ladies and Gentlemen” has a bit of a country feel to it and it is excellent. The penultimate song, “The Golden State” is about California, but not in the way you would think. Green asks, “Why is everyone still singing about California? Haven’t we heard enough about the golden state?” The song is soft and sweet and it is a neat song about what Green seems to prefer in terms of real estate.
“Death’s Song” is probably my favorite song on the album. I love the depressing nature of the song. It is catchy and beautiful but also crushing and emotional. Dallas’ vocals help to pull out the emotion as well. The light strumming and hollow piano in the background is the perfect way to start this song and creates a great effect when the song kicks in, in the choruses. I love it. The refrain, “Singing my death’s song, this is my death’s song” brings the album to a wonderful conclusion.
I really enjoy this album and it will be another beautiful egg in the basket that is the City and Colour discography. He does a really a nice job on these songs. As usual there are songs that I absolutely love but all of the songs are solid and there is plenty of good stuff to come back to and enjoy.