Album review: If I Should Go Before You

City and Colour’s genre-bending experimentation in sound

City and Colour Promo Shot

Dallas Green of City and Colour released his fifth album, “If I Should Go Before You,” on Oct. 9. (Dine Alone Records/Cooking Vinyl)

City and Colour presents “If I Should Go Before You,” an expansion from their acoustic sound into live rock show production. Rather than ditching the minimalistic acoustic sound that City and Colour is known for, Dallas Green continues to breathe authenticity into his music through production that sounds like you are attending a live show.

Green says the album was inspired by playing live shows with his touring band and was recorded with his touring band in Nashville.

Dallas Green is originally known for his Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire but has been indulging himself in acoustic-folk music since 2000 under the name City and Colour.

“If I Should Go Before You” marks Green’s fifth album and 10 years of music under the City and Colour banner.

Green’s voice blends perfectly with the guitar solos and atmospheric soundscapes. “If I Should Go Before You,” contrasts nicely with Green’s last work titled “You+Me,” a collaboration with pop singer P!nk, that features intimate instrumentation and sweeping strings.

The main genre found in “If I Should Go Before You” is an infusion of psychedelic blues combined with City and Colour’s indie folk rock sound.

Cover for “If I Should Go Before You,” the new album by City and Colour. (Dine Alone Records/Cooking Vinyl)

Cover for “If I Should Go Before You,” the new album by City and Colour. (Dine Alone Records/Cooking Vinyl)

However, Green does experiment with the country and jazz genres. “Killing Time” represents a jazzy upbeat feel while songs like “Runaway” and “Friends” introduce a foray into country music.
City and Colour’s first featured single “Woman” which also starts off the album is a nine-minute-long introduction filled with psychedelic guitar riffs. The song has an atmospheric feel and sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Woman” thematically expands from his previous material showing growth and maturity in Green’s songwriting abilities.

The album as whole is about love and most likely draws inspiration from Green’s relationship with TV host Leah Miller. “If I Should Go Before You” differs from his previous works in that it is more positive and uplifting than before. Rather than writing about the woes of love, Green focuses on the happy things and his everlasting love for his new woman.

“If I Should Go Before You” reflects Green’s newfound happiness and maturity within his own life. The album finishes on a more serious note with “Blood,” which speaks about his perseverance in his relationship. “Blood” is strikingly similar to Green’s previous work with nothing but a solo guitar and his voice hinting that he is not quite done with his acoustic sound.

While City and Colour might have started out as merely a side-project to Green’s other musical endeavours, it has evolved into an attention-gaining outlet for his indie rock aspirations. With “If I Should Go Before You,” it is clear that City and Colour has grown extensively from its humble beginnings. With its diversity and experimentation into new production and genres, “If I Should Go Before You” proves that Green is a capable songwriter able to write songs beyond the minimalistic instrumentation of his acoustic guitar and into complex soundscapes.