Band: City and Colour
Title: Little Hell
Released: July 2011
Label: Dine Alone Records
Producer: Alex Newport
City and Colour’s third album, Little Hell, serves up more of the full-band sound that was introduced on ‘Give Me Your Love’, but while the album is a pleasant listen, it isn’t very exciting. We’re still treated to eleven songs of Dallas Green’s warm, endearing tone, which is never a bad thing, and over the course of the album his voice alone is enough to keep you listening.
For me, where the album falls down is in the lack of progression from the previous effort. ‘Sometimes’ was beautiful in its acoustic simpicity, followed by ‘Give Me Your Love’ which felt fresh and interesting due to the introduction of a full band. ‘Little Hell’ continues where the previous record left off, and while the production has been tweaked to give a cleaner, crisper sound (which sounds excellent), musically there is less growth, which leaves me feeling slightly underwhelmed. To be fair to the band, the sound that they’ve achieved on this album fits perfectly with the songs on offer, so this album can be seen as perfecting their craft, rather than straining to reinvent the wheel. This is perfectly fine, however as a listener, I struggle to see how I can become excited about future releases in this vein.
One thing that would be nice to hear progression on is the subject matter of the lyrics. If Dallas can move away from melancholy and onto something a little cheerier, with a dash of hope in his voice, this could tip the scales towards something with a different feel to it musically as well. As lovely as hearing Dallas sing is, I’m not sure how many more sombre songs I can listen to him sing!