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City and Colour - A Pill For Loneliness (Album Review)

Monday, 21 October 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Renee Rodenkirchen

City and Colour’s ‘A Pill for Loneliness’ is the sixth solo outing for Dallas Green, a singer-songwriter primarily known for his work with the Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. It is a record of mature grandeur, presenting 11 well written songs that are performed and arranged with real skill. It also sounds a lot like ‘X&Y’-era Coldplay. 

That shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Green’s songwriting is direct, melodious and relatable, and his voice is pure and distinctive, handling frequently elaborate melodies with nimble precision.

It’s noteworthy on tracks like Living in Lightning and the excellent Astronaut, a song that deals with the album’s central theme of loneliness: “I'm feelin' lucky to be lost / Wonderin' what's comin' next / Scratchin' and crawlin', whiskey soaked / Been stealin' time from death.”

There is also some decent tonal variation here. While Song of Unrest occupies the same emotional space as Astronaut, the digitally treated drums give it a different flavour.

This takes the record towards the New Romantic throwback material recently produced by Wild Nothing, Bat for Lashes and other artists inspired to produce concept albums redolent of a distinctive time and place.

The War Years also occupies this real estate, using Cure-esque chords and construction to build a sprawling elegy about a romance on the rocks. The problem with the song, and the album in general, is that its central sound lacks originality and actually draws from a genre—soft, epic indie—that felt a bit dated at its height in the mid ‘00s.

And indie music grandstanding can be a strangely repellent experience in 2019. You have to really trust the performer’s intentions when listening, and find their experiences believably non-corporate. In many ways, Green's writing succeeds, and yet there is something buried deep in the record that feels shifty and derivative. Maybe the sound has been sullied by the ubiquity of Coldplay and their capitalist coterie of soundalikes.

City and Colour Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 28 2020 - LONDON Palladium
Sat February 29 2020 - LONDON Palladium

Click here to compare & buy City And Colour Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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