The Hurry and the Harm marks the release of the fourth album by City and Colour, a project started as a singer/songwriter emotional release for Dallas Green, to accompany his ‘day job’ as guitarist and backing vocalist in seminal Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. It's amazing that a side project should make it this far!
Eight years and three records later, the release of The Hurry and the Harm displays progress for all to see, in more ways than one. Debut album Sometimes saw a man trying to create an intimate record to showcase his talents as a different songwriting beast to the one we saw in Alexisonfire. With said record he created a cult following the world over, with fans that have stayed true and lapped up Green's every output since. Fast forward to this record and we have production duties by Alex Newport (At The Drive-In and Death Cab For Cutie) and a backing band that boasts credits from Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket and Fiona Apple. This shows a definite shift of power from cult club circuit musician to the arena shows supporting Biffy Clyro from earlier this year. The question is: do the songs stand up to this shift? The short answer is a resounding YES!
A shift from Canada to Nashville was always going to bring about a change in the sound of Green's songwriting. Where past albums had slow, brooding, plucked verses we now have a blues and folk ‘riffery’ which can possibly also be attributed to the presence of Jack Lawrence (of Dead Weather and The Raconteurs fame) on bass. Another major change on this record is the fact that there are signs of hope and optimism. Such tracks as Commentators and Of Space And Time show this off perfectly and give hints of City and Colour's promotion from emotional bedroom anthems to being witnessed by a audience on a much larger scale.
From this album it becomes quite clear that Dallas has always had a fantastic grasp of where he hoped this band would go. The first single from the record, Thirst, showcases perfectly how much the act's sound has developed since previous records. This is an unashamed full band rock anthem that will no doubt be a staple of live shows for the duration of the band's career.
To the credit of Dallas Green, it can be confirmed that despite this long-coming change, The Hurry and the Harm is still, 100%, a City and Colour record. The intricate guitar playing and falsetto voice is unmistakeable and is a welcome sound for fans who fell in love with his music for the past three records, and yet knew change was afoot (but silently hoped nothing too drastic would happen).