Call us massive softies, but even just saying the name of the new City and Colour album brings a lump to our throat. If I Should Go Before You – crikey that’s a heavy start to a conversation, the mere notion of mortality preceding undoubtedly a condition of love. If that happened, what then?
For such an emotional title, then, it’s a shame that Dallas Green doesn’t really follow through on similar such ruminations throughout the album. It does however start strongly with Woman, one of the finest songs of the year and a majestic nine-plus minutes of elegiac writing and instrumentation that is robust enough to carry everything that follows.
That’s not to say it’s all disappointing, but a little bit of an anticlimax following such a rousing opener. Tonally it’s all over the place, Wasted Love being a rollicking blues-bar number that pops up after crests and troughs of tempo. But Green’s songwriting does occasionally excel on tracks like Northern Blues, discussing the search for a ‘post-mortem truth’ with perfectly-pitched pop-rock. His guitar licks are in fine fettle (particularly on Killing Time and Mizzy C), but there’s a slight emotional disconnect that ends up realised in the title track. “If I should go before you,” he sings, “we’ll meet in the ever after, please don’t follow me into the sun”. Something tells us we deserved more profound a payoff for such a loaded set up.
If I Should Go Before You by City and Colour can be ordered here.