ARTIST: CITY AND COLOUR

TITLE: A PILL FOR LONELINESS

LABEL: STILL RECORDS

RATING: 7.5/10

WORDS: JO COSGROVE

Showing off more of his own personal talent away from Alexisonfire, Dallas Green has been working for over a decade on his solo project, under the alias City and Colour. Throughout this time, he’s released five positively received records – and he’s bringing on City and Colour’s fifteenth year with the record, ‘A Pill For Loneliness‘. Always coming across as his main musical priority, he’s taken the time and effort to perfect his own vision and his own style. But this far down the line, is the magic still there?

It’s beautiful in its own way how City and Colour’s music differs in such a drastic manner to what’s been released by Alexisonfire; nearly an obvious statement to make but it’s magnificent. Mid-album track ‘Me and the Moonlight’ is what brings that to mind straightaway, as it highlights Green’s ability to apply depth and diversity into everything he works on. There are different levels that can be heard within this track, through the simplest instrumentation and the echoing vocal harmonies that will give the skin goosebumps. Taking the openly interpreted themes of moonlight and nighttime, paired with emotional vulnerability and the record’s namesake loneliness, it’s settled into this mellow beat that funnily enough would make for a suitable lullaby for the right person. Is the magic still there? If the listener manages to fall asleep to ‘Me and the Moonlight’, there’s some kind of magic there.

“highlights Green’s ability to apply depth and diversity into everything he works on”

The latest single release, ‘Living in Lightning’ is what brings the listener into the record and despite perhaps fitting easier in a different spot on the listing, it’s still a sweet soothing song that helped give fans a sneak peek of this new adventure and what City and Colour was bringing to the table next. It’s a softer side to Green that he’s built up over time through City and Colour, and this is a good example that he’s maintaining what gives his music its special quality. Juxtaposed within itself, it gives an air of hopefulness and sunshine in its sound, but the lyrics counteract with notes of depression and regret within life. As it fades out and the rest of the story continues, it sets up the preparation of an 11-track journey of cheerful ups and tearful downs. Just like life itself.

Following that formula, ‘A Pill For Loneliness‘ ends on the six-minute ballad, ‘Lay Me Down’. The majority of the track consists of Green’s striking voice and the fulfilling background of piano keys. This is where Green’s heart shines its brightest and his words hit their hardest, and strikes in a more firmer action than the seldom used percussion. An idea that pays off as it’ll leave listeners in tears and with secondhand heartache.

“the creativity and intelligence still leaps out”

Altogether, City and Colour was always a project for soft-rock fans who steer more towards lyrical meaning than guitar riffs screaming the pain into their ears. ‘A Pill For Loneliness‘ doesn’t have a sound that’s to everyone’s liking – like any sound, by any act in rock – but it’s so well-structured and put together that the creativity and intelligence still leaps out. A sense that can’t be described by listeners who are new to this side of Dallas Green, but can still be felt; and that’s what validates almost fifteen years of improvement and development.

 

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