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City and Colour: The Hurry and the Harm

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The Hurry and the Harm is a calming, meditative album about the power of simplicity and gratitude in life.

What's most fascinating about the album is that Dallas Green, the man behind City and Colour (and also singer for the hardcore/emo Alexisonfire), chose not to present this batch of songs as simple and spare acoustic tunes.

Setting up that contrast makes for a rich listening experience. Recording with some session ringers - among them drummer James Gadson of Bill Withers' band and Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence - at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Green and producer Alex Newport aim for the layered and lush sound of arena-sized acoustic pop.

"Everyone wants everything / no matter the cost / we're longing to live in a dream," sings Green on the title track, an assessment of not only the hyper-technological modern age, but of human longings with roots much more ancient. Mindful and cautionary, Green closes the song with his own answer to the dilemma: "I'm going back to the start."

And on "Commentators," Green declares exactly where his starting point is: "I don't want to be revolutionary / No, I'm just looking for the sweetest melody."

It's when those melodies are the sweetest that City and Colour shines brightest. And aside from a bit of fizzle at the end with "The Golden State" and "Death's Song," The Hurry and the Harm carries more than its share of sweet melodies.

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