Album review: City And Colour – The Love Still Held Me Near

A poignant platter from the sensitive side of Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green…

Album review: City And Colour – The Love Still Held Me Near
Ian Winwood

Somewhere in the middle section of the third song on The Love Still Held Me Near, the eighth studio album from Toronto’s City And Colour, Dallas Green sings that 'we had everything we wanted but we fucked it up'. They 'had everything we needed but it wasn’t enough'. At which point, seemingly out of nowhere, a lead guitar solo snakes into the track with the devilish intent of electricity out on loose and looking for trouble. The mood is not as it once was; if the party isn’t over, certainly it’s turned sour.

Because if Alexisonfire, the group with which Dallas Green first made his name, are the sound of a vast army of people bonded together in unified joy, City And Colour, at least in this current iteration, are the sound of the inevitable and necessary clean-up operation after the show. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Inspired by the untimely deaths of a family member and a musical colleague and friend, The Love Still Held Me Near resonates with the timbre of a music-maker who has reached the point at which the impermanence of life becomes a permanent fixture. And while youth, it is so often said, is wasted on the young, the ominous toll of encroaching age suits Dallas Green well.

Alas, as with other City and Colour albums, this one suffers from moments of terminal blandness. It’s one thing to be a proper ‘grown-up’ songwriter, but quite another to sound quite as sensible and suburban as City (Dallas) and Colour (Green) do, or does, on tracks such as Underground and A Little Mercy. Elsewhere, though, on offerings such as Meant To Be and The Water Is Coming, The Love Still Held Me Near is the sound of a hard and necessary rain that will one day fall on us all until the day we die.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Chuck Ragan, Dustin Kensrue, onelinedrawing

The Love Still Held Me Near is released on March 31 via Dine Alone

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