An Alexisonfire frontman turns the house lights up and the volume down.
As an acoustic-driven, singer-songwriter album, City and Colour's Bring Me Your Love sticks pretty closely to the acoustic singer-songwriter formula: girls are pretty, life is tough, and you gotta, like, live out your dreams, man. But taken in the context of his other job as one of the frontmen for Canadian altcore band Alexisonfire, this latest effort by singer-songwriter Dallas (city) Green (colour) borders on shocking.
Green has released two EPs and a full-length as City and Colour already, but with Bring Me Your Love his style and songwriting show a certain poise and authority that much of his previous work was lacking away from the uniformly loud music Green and his Alexisonfire bandmates built their name on. Sounding more comfortable in this quieter element of his output than before, Green doesn't shy away from giddy love songs ("The Girl") any more than he does the existential ruminations ("Body in a Box," "What Makes a Man?") that define the gentle brand of rock City and Colour aims for.
While the songs themselves are fairly straightforward and at times overly conventional, the great saving grace in all of this is Green himself. With a vocal delivery sounding eerily like Jeff Buckley music the obsessive goth overtones or classic rock bombast, Green's light warble and confident bellow give his earnest lyrics considerably more weight than they could ever carry by their own merits. When he writes about how he "can feel the wind blowing / sending shivers down my spine" and that it "shakes the trees and power lines," you can't help but cringe at the banality of it all; when Green's echo-heavy tenor fills the room with those same words, that banality suddenly becomes something closer to simple philosophy born of an exhaustive, lonely introspection.
Speaking of echo-heavy, special mention must be given to producer/engineer Dan Achen's masterful audio treatment. The album's warm yet lean sound perfectly suits Green's mid- and uptempo acoustic style, with the entire recording sounding as though it were recorded by one microphone hanging from the center of the warehouse. This wasn't how the album was captured, of course, but this subtle sleight of hand is representative of how this album shines through perfectly contrived paradoxes. The uplifting songs suggest that it's not all fun and games, while the miserable songs hint just as strongly at the possibility of some good yet coming of it all. Bring Me Your Love is far from a masterpiece, but certainly strong enough to interest fans of Green and of acoustic rock alike.