City And Colour – “Sometimes” and “Live”

So, to quite my excitement, I got a parcel in the post the other day.  Almost forgetting that I had ordered it at all, I find concealed within a double pack of City And Colour CD’s. For those not currently in the know (and why the hell AREN’T you?!), City And Colour is the brainchild of one Dallas Green (get it? It his name? CITY and COLOUR?), originally the guitarist and backing vocals for the Canadian Screamo/Hardcore/Punk outfit Alexisonfire. Whilst on various tours with Alexisonfire, Dallas Green would be sat at the back of the bus continually writing more and more songs, not all of which fitted into the Alexisonfire-style of song-craft. Therefore, City And Colour was born – a hybrid of heartfelt acoustic and upbeat folk music wrapped into one brutally honest, chilling and dramatic solo outfit. For those of you already in the know, you’ll already know how fantastic these songs are!

I personally already owned his latest album, Bring Me Your Love, which quite frankly opened my eyes to just how talented Dallas Green can be with his honest, heartfelt lyrics and his mastering of the acoustic guitar as much as the electric, and since then City And Colour has become one of my favourite bands (which is odd, since its a real stand-out, being an acoustic, solo outfit!). But, after listening to Bring Me Your Love to an extent that I know almost all the songs now (I’m even currently using the song Confessions in vocal training!) I decided to order myself a double pack of the only other CD’s City And Colour have made. These CD’s are Sometimes, the first studio album, and Live, a collection of live performances capturing a more raw, stripped down (even further!) side to Dallas Green that you just can get from a studio recording.

Sometimes, when compared to Bring Me Your Love, is by far a less technical and versatile album, but you have to remember that this one was released first, so its likely to be that way for most bands, not just Dallas Green! This, however, does not mean that the contents of these songs aren’t in anyway less hard-hitting. Songs such as Comin’ Home and Hello, I’m in Delaware show a side to Green that almost says “I’m sick of this touring thing, I’m out”, with lines like “I’ve seen palaces in London, I’ve seen a castle in Wales, but I’d rather wake up beside you and breathe that ol’ familiar smell”, obviously at the times when he’s seen it getting too much to handle. The title song Sometimes (I Wish) expresses the feeling that I’m sure many of us have had at some point, where we wonder whether the one that loves us would still love us if we were any different, expressed best in the line “If I suddenly went blind, would you still look in my eyes?”. For the most part, these songs are borderline cry-worthy (in the good sense!) because they bring out such emotions in the way the songs tell these stories, but there’s always a slightly more upbeat song coming round the corner as if to say “Well, its not ALWAYS bad, what about this?”.

Overall, Sometimes is a very meaningful record, not just to Dallas Green who has obviously written some of these songs as an outlet for his own thoughts and emotions, but also to the fans that listen who so clearly empathise with him so much.

The next CD is very simply called Live, doing exactly what it says on the tin (or album sleeve, if you will!). This CD, unfortunately, does NOT come with the extra DVD which is usually included when you buy it on its own, but this is no matter, as Dallas Green’s voice paints all the pictures you’ll ever need for this performance (unless you’re a total geek for the band or one of the people you hear at the start screaming “I Love You, Dallas!” from the rafters, in which case it’s completely understandable!). However, what you do get here is a total bombardment of raw lyrics, raw guitars and even more raw emotions. This album, for the most part, is essentially the same as Sometimes, but with some other songs that are “previously unreleased” (they appear on Bring Me Your Love, though, so don’t worry!), performed in front of an audience and stripped down further. So why do THESE songs seem to cut so much deeper? Can it be that if you were to close your eyes, you could imagine yourself being there? Or is it more the fact that Dallas Green’s voice seems to be even more haunting live when he’s playing off the audience than when he’s being recorded by a machine, rarely hitting an off-key note all CD? Take your pick!

Songs like Comin’ Home and Save Your Scissors hit that little bit harder here, and you get a sense of what Dallas Green is REALLY like while playing. Confessions in its own right, is a beautiful song with fantastic lyrics (“I’ve been up for days, trying to find a way, to write my confession down”), but done live you get a sudden, chilling sense that Green actually means EVERYTHING he’s saying, and he’s singing it right at you. Previous Alexisonfire song Happiness By The Kilowatt also makes an appearance here, and its not very often that an artist gets to cover one of his own songs, but Dallas Green makes it just as impressive and hard hitting as the rest of his set. The only thing that really brings this CD down is the almost unnecessary inclusion of two alternate versions of songs that are already on here, but once you hear them, you realise they are essentially different performances. But that doesn’t sit for long, as future heartbreak release Sensible Heart makes its debut at the end, and not a dry eye is left after he’s done!

Overall, this is a near-perfect example of what City And Colour do best. It’s not very often that a simple, well performed song or two can reduce a grown person to tears, but in the case of Dallas Green and City And Colour, you had better be ready to catch yourself!

Advertisements

12 Comments

  1. Where can I pick up a copy of sometimes/live double pack album???
    please let me know,
    cheers

    • I got mine from HMV, so you can probably find it there. Other than that you can try on sites such as Amazon or Play if you search for them, as its harder to find in the stores than it is online. But its definitely worth getting for what it is!

  2. yeah, I’ve looked at all those sites and more, cant find it anywhere. did hassle only press 100 of these double pack cd box sets. if you know anyone or if you want to sell yours let me know!
    cheers

    • I’m afraid I’m very much unwilling to sell mine, as my CD’s (or at least, the ones I like/have signed/have had for ages) are important to me. I’m one of these people who may have digital copies of their music, but still enjoys having the tangible CDs and album art available to them. If you’re having trouble finding the double pack, I recommend you buy them both separately. For the most part, the material on the Live CD is a lot of the same songs on Sometimes but just done live, and if you buy the Live CD on its own you get the DVD with it. Thats all I can recommend to you for now. BTW, keep checking back, as sometime soon a review of Chuck Ragan’s latest release will be going up, as I was fortunate enough to get that for Christmas but have had no opportunities to listen to it yet!

  3. I understand you not wanting to part with it. I have the cd’s, but like you I appreciate the artwork and in some cases enjoy the alternate packageing just the same( like this release) so I’m after all the variants. I’ll keep looking. it’ll come up eventually.
    (once again, if you know anyone else who wouldn’t mind selling, let me know on here)
    cheers!

  4. now that I think about it. I could offer you, three or 4 times what you paid for it. so you could go buy the single copies of both albums??? that is unless your double pack is one that is signed/so special you cant part with it.
    thanks,

    • Hey there! It’s not that they’re very special or signed or anything, its just that its harder to find the Live one so much now, and its not that theyre a special packagre or anything, its literally just the two CD’s separately packed into the one box that has both of the covers on the front. It’s not a big deal, its just that I bought them as a double pack so I reviewed them as a double pack. They’re not really any kind of varient really, just more of a convient way to sell some extra copies in some shops. You get them all the time, in fact, I have another one of Alexisonfire’s first two albums (ironically enough, the band that Dallas Green is better known from!), so it might just be that some places sell them together and some places dont. Honestly, if you’re looking for a limited edition variant pack, this really isnt it! Sorry to disappoint dude, but keep on listening to good music and you’re welcome to comment on these reviews!

      Keep checking back for some new music reviews soon!

  5. hey,
    I know all about all the releases, check it out,
    http://www.deadformat.net/tradelist/alexistool
    I’ll keep looking for the double pack.
    cheers

  6. both these albums are available on amazon.co.uk! I could send you the money for you to buy them from there plus more if you selling me the double album??
    yeah i’m back again!

    • Hey! Good to hear from you again. Like I said, this isn’t really so much of a double ALBUM, but actually just both of the CD’s that got sold together with a carboard sleeve over them. I can take a picture of it and send it to you if you’d like, so you have a better idea of what i mean? Honestly, its not a variant really at all, there’s just one distributing company that sells them together in one sleeve. They actually do it with a bunch of bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Every Time I Die as well, its just a convenient and cheaper way of getting into a bands back catalogue.

  7. i know it is just the two albums and a sleeve, thats why I want it!
    haahaha
    did you not check out my link? that should give you an idea about my knowledge of city and colours discography.
    seriously want to buy it from you!
    please email me if you decide to sell it to me!

    • Ok, I will give it a think over and let you know soon when I remember. I just don’t want you to think that you’re getting one thing and then be disappointed with what you’re actually getting! hehe


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s