Having read ALLEN GINSBERG’s Howl maybe a hundred times, my inner guts still have convulsions when I read “Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland”. Call me old-fashioned, but for me a singer/songwriter record should hurt too. It should make you almost cry and let you feel the burden of the weight of the world. – Neither CITY AND COLOUR’s previous record, nor its new The Hurry and The Harm are capable of letting you feel any of this. To make a long story short: Both, they are simply too clean.
“At the end of the day, when I write a song, it has to make me happy,” mastermind Dallas Green states – fair enough, however not exactly what I expect from such a record. But keeping this in mind, it doesn’t surprise much that he recorded The Hurry and The Harm again together with Alex Newport (AT THE DRIVE-IN, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, BLOC PARTY), who had joined him for the last record Little Hell already and created a rather clear, easy-to-listen sound back then. It’s a premiere though that they stepped outside of Canada to do so: In Nashville they gathered musicians like Jack Lawrence on bass (THE RACONTEURS) or Matt Chamberlain (PEARL JAM) on drums in the studio and produced the LP during winter.
With respect to the songwriting, once more we find a very honest and private Green, who reveals a lot about his struggles with the end of ALEXISONFIRE. His personal journey from being a part of successful post-hardcore band, to fully accept himself as singer/songwriter and feeling comfortable with CITY AND COLOUR becoming more than just a side-project, is the record’s main subject. In Of Space and Time Green recalls his past months with/without the band and indicates that breaking up was anything but easy: “I’m roaming through the hills all alone / I’m trying to find my direction home”. From a fan’s perspective, The Hurry and The Harm is, thus, surely an intense record, as there is much to reappraise.
However, if you would not necessarily consider yourself a fan, you might actually find yourself slightly bored by the 12 songs. Because the sound of The Hurry and The Harm is strikingly clean and consistent: no surprises; nothing to wonder or listen up. It’s just another well-produced singer/songwriter LP without rough edges. But as Green warbles in Commenters “I don’t want to be revolutionary / No, I’m just looking for the sweetest melody”, this is something not unintended.
Nevertheless – and to make sure you don’t get me wrong: It’s still Dallas Green, we’re talking about! And just because the record might not enter singer/songwriter Mount Olympus for being extraordinarily experimental or anything, Green still remains a brilliant songwriter with an awfully beautiful voice – especially live on concert where his falsetto is just as clear as it is recorded. Therefore, going to one of CITY AND COLOUR‘s upcoming concerts in summer is still highly recommended! Because all the pain and passion that you might not feel by listening to his latest record(s) will hit you on the show – Scout’s honor!