From the psychedelic solos to the slightly R&B rhythms, surprises abound on City and Colour's new LP. Yes, you read that right: the acoustic pop balladeer born Dallas Green and famed for his skeletally arranged early hits positively cuts loose on If I Should Go Before You.
Opening track "Woman," for instance, boasts roaring guitar solos and ambient production. And midway track "Killing Time," perhaps the album's best song, has funky, herky-jerky guitar work that's a cross between Los Lobos and a lost Motown classic. But Green hasn't abandoned his acoustic tendencies entirely — he's just fleshed them out. "Lover Come Back" is a gospel-tinged tune featuring charming, albeit a bit on the nose, organ playing, and "Map of the World" has a chugging bass line that wouldn't be out of place on a Sun Records rockabilly recording, as Green sings about how the "current of life" pulled him under until he was "swept away."
Clearly he is awash with new inspiration, and has absorbed it successfully, because it's hard to recall an artist in recent memory who has revamped their sound so boldly and successfully as City and Colour has on If I Should Go Before You. (Dine Alone)