*This review was composed by Alyssa McKinley and edited by Erik van Rheenen
Dallas Green has returned with his fourth full length under his alias City and Colour, this time backed with a full band. While the addition of many musical elements has allowed Green to explore a new dynamic range on this record, sometimes it works for him, and other times it doesn’t. The album starts slow and somewhat bland, but quickly works up to its highest points, leaving time to wind down to the classic, simple City and Colour that we are familiar with.
The album kicks off with its title track, introducing us to the themes of yearning for simplicity and the rejection of greed that are strewn throughout the remainder of the album. The first few songs are not far off from the classic, acoustic version City and Colour, boasting peaceful and introspective qualities. On “The Lonely Life” the songwriting isn’t as impressive as we know it Green’s can be. While it is desperate, it seems less inspired than the Green we are used to, both lyrically and musically.
The record begins to pick up with “Paradise” which, although similar thematically, contains a catchier chorus and slightly less predictable verses, allowing Green’s sweet wails shine in the way they always should. “Paradise” is followed up by “Commentators,” Green’s jab at anyone who may be critical of his music, with a chorus declaring, “I don’t wanna be revolutionary / No, I’m just looking for the sweetest melody” — appropriate lyrics for a track that indeed contains one of the sweetest melodies on the release.