I think we’ve reached that stage where we can stop referring to City and Colour as just the “side project for Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green”. City and Colour deserves to stand alone on its own merits, not simply for the fact that it is in contrast to Alexisonfire’s post hardcore sound but because on this, the third record, Dallas has transformed from a solo acoustic outfit to a full adult contemporary style band.
Little Hell sees Green experiment a little more with sounds without compromising the reasons why we love City and Colour in the first place. The honey-sweet, soft love songs are joined by ethereal keys, drums and dirty blues guitar as found on the first single Fragile Bird. Sounding a lot like a Black Keys song, Fragile Bird shows the branching out of sound that Dallas has gone with in this record. There are still those sweet acoustic ballads in tracks We Found Each Other In The Dark and Grand Optimist, the latter being a beautiful song about Dallas’ parents. In fact, family is mentioned quite a bit throughout this album. O Sister is dedicated to his sister and there are times he references his new family in his wife and his band mates from Alexisonfire.
The record is also unique in the fact that Dallas chose to record this to tape and not digitally. The analog method coupled with where it was recorded (in a friend’s studio within an old church) creates this open sound with a great low end sound and an echo in the tracks that gives dimension to Green’s melancholy songs.
Little Hell is another great album from City And Colour. The quality of the music continues to grow and talents of Dallas’ songwriting are the key within this project. This is a great record and deserves the praise that it has received so far.