October 1, 2019 City and Colour – A Pill For Loneliness (Album Review)
It has been four years since we received fresh new material from the much beloved City and Colour, but now the talented Dallas Green is set to offer up a kaleidoscope of keen observations in the form of A Pill For Loneliness. Still Records delivers the contradictory collection on Friday, October 4, 2019.
Do you know acclaimed musician and three-time JUNO Award-winning Dallas Green? A multi-talented singer-songwriter-guitarist, he currently records under the guise of City and Colour and has been doing so since 2005’s Sometimes. A prolific artist, he followed his debut with four more heartfelt full-lengths over the next decade, ranging from 2008’s Bring Me Your Love to 2015’s If I Should Go Before You. Previously the co-founder of the exceptional Canadian Post-Hardcore band Alexisonfire, with whom he released four albums, Green has also worked alongside the exquisite P!nk on the Folk duo You+Me, who released their debut album, rose ave., in 2014.
So, what’s next for this eclectic musician? That would be the 11-song A Pill For Loneliness. Produced by three-time Grammy Award-winner Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones), Green’s sixth full-length as City and Colour contrasts upbeat, beautifully layered sonics with often somber reflections on the world in which we live. Blending lush guitars, ethereal orchestration, and his own heavenly vocal delivery, Green balances the reality of the times in which we live with lofty hope, creating an 11-song cure for those that have grown disheartened with our modern world.
A Pill For Loneliness opens to Green’s soft vocals crooning around the core of “Living in Lightning,” a promise that despite the battering and bruising moments throughout life, authoring your own course is worth the struggle. This continues with the six-minute journey “Astronaut,” a faintly undulating sonisphere that wanders through weeping guitars and Green’s gentle reflections on being a touring musician. The track ends in an epic jam session that paves the way for “Imagination,” which amps up the beat to a brightly illuminating joyousness. A promise to keep living, to continue dancing, the dazzling track is a definite toe-tapper (or bop, if you prefer).
Green begins “Difficult Love” in the lower reaches of his vocal register as he paints the evolution of a relationship to a steady beat and twinkling, flowing guitars. Then, like the sun kissing the tallest grass in a meadow as it sets on a summer day, “Me and the Moonlight” goes for atmospherics and delicate guitar work while appreciating a silent night of worry-free reflection.
If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a definite nature theme happening on A Pill For Loneliness. This continues with the moody sonics of “Mountain of Madness,” a look at the future and finding a better way to approach this world of insanity with unity and understanding. Continuing this theme, understated, nebulous electronics help to anchor the atmosphere that opens “Song of Unrest,” a moment spent pondering why we treat one another so poorly, and why we find such delight in destruction and tragedy.
Next, Green amps up the pace for the softly rocking “Strangers,” a hope for love and acceptance. Perfectly suited to the intense divide present in 2019, the song urges listeners to choose understanding over hate. A beautifully sweeping hope to rise above, “The War Years” contrasts glittering, entrancing sonics with a discussion of humanity’s love of suffocating beneath hatred and turmoil. Meanwhile, “Young Lovers” goes for a slightly darker sound with thick bass lines anchoring a tale that urges listeners to live like they’ve never been hurt before, to embrace each day with the naivete of youth.
Ultimately, the collection ends with a sweeping lullaby. When you’ve had enough of this mountain of madness, “Lay Me Down” is right there to sing you to sleep with graceful piano and Green’s sincere vocal deliveries. Like this, Green wraps up a beautifully-authored, wonderfully poignant and insightful collection that proves his immense talents. Heavily steeped in Folk, City and Colour’s music transcends boundaries, allowing Green to place his thoughtful lyrics at the heart of all he does.
A Pill For Loneliness takes what Green does so magnificently and also provides a look at self-awareness, and learning to appreciate what we have, alongside what it means to be alive in 2019. Urging listeners to choose love and unity over hate and division, to be thoughtful and empathetic, Green sets his bleak observations to hope-filled music that embraces these ideals and delivers a cathartic experience. To borrow a much overused phrase, City and Colour along with chill should be on your agenda for this weekend! Thus, Cryptic Rock give A Pill For Loneliness 4.5 of 5 stars. Psst, music is that pill!