City and Colour - Sometimes
Record Label: Vagrant (U.S.), Dine Alone Records (Canada)
Release Date: January 13, 2009 ( U.S.), November 1, 2005 (Canada)
I scan through old reviews frantically, searching for something to relieve boredom, something that has not been written about just yet. I was surprised to see that I never found City and Colour's debut album, Sometimes on that lengthy list of reviewed works. It needs to be. Here goes nothing.
"Dallas, like the city-- and Green, like the colour," Dallas used to always tell people while they had begged to know what his name meant. He's a funny man, but his music preaches an entirely different story.
Sometimes opens up with an abrupt strumming of chords in an open tuning, not even close to standard. His vocals are chillingly high, almost too high. His lyrics are also very juvenile in this song. "The stars are aligned, but they don't align for us," makes for a very tween-like emotional song, but I'm willing to say that the soothing sounds of Dallas Green's voice surely make up for every saddening word he has to say.
Once the second track, "Like Knives" had commenced, I felt instantly serenaded and relieved at the obnoxious sound of the first track. Dallas had always been an impressive guitarist in Alexisonfire-- as well as in impressive vocalist. Once, I had heard him singing in nothing but a falsetto voice, with no Autotune ( impressive!), and playing chords unheard of on acoustic. You may think he is biting the style of bands like Secondhand Serenade, or Chase Coy, but once heard, opinions change. Dallas leaves his falsetto voice behind in the last few pieces of "Like Knives", so we can hear him belt out "Can I have you?". This definitely shows us his undeniably large vocal range, and bits of his immense versatility.
"Hello, I'm Delaware" is a song about being on tour, missing someone, and counting down the days until you get to see that someone again. With words like, "There goes my life passing by with every exit sign," you can feel the pain that Dallas himself is feeling, being on tour and away from family. His guitar style (tuned to DGDGBE), is very catchy in certain licks he used during the verse in pre-chorus-- making you nod your head and say to yourself, "Yes Dallas, you know what you are doing." This is one of the stronger tracks on Sometimes.
Coming from a really slow beat, to the more up-beat "Save Your Scissors" was a top-notch idea on Dallas' part. It gives the album variety, and gives every song a difference. So none of them appear to run together, or sound the same. Not to mention his metaphorical lyrics. They're (unbiased) catchy and understandable. "Save your scissors for someone else's skin. My surface is so tough, I don't think the blade will dig in," gives you a clear mental image of strength-- which was in-turn, and most likely the goal that Dallas Green had put to mind. He was successful.
"In the Water, I am Beautiful" to me was a very weak and sad track. It was unimpressive, and sounded as if a lost and angry 14-year-old kid had wrote it, and sent it to him. Though his voice is still a "10" on this song, I did not care for it.
After a minor upset, he blows you out of that 'water' on the fifth track with the whopping "Day Old Hate". This song has earned the title of "Strongest" on the album. Dallas' intricate picking, along with the combination of strumming-- all in one take-- gives you the sense that he is a talented musician as well as he is a vocalist. This also packs a punch as the slowest song on the album. It is also the most emotional, bringing any troubled child to their knees in worshipping tears. Definitely a recommended track though, I thought.
"Sam Malone" is a minor setback, due to repetitiveness. Though the up-and-down strokes of his picking is an excessive exercise of the ages, the song still drags along, leaving me slightly unimpressed-- yet I was still very eager to hear what was to come next. And what comes next is as beautiful as I had believed.
I've given you a run-down of a little over half of this album, in play-by-play antics for many reasons. 1) Dallas has many differential items to offer; musically, and vocally. 2) For an album that only consists of vocals, guitar, and the occasional piano/violin; there are still so many layers of music, even without the percussion. 3) Sometimes is a fantastic release, and deserves to be broken down. Biased or not, I tried not to be.
I believe that Sometimes as a whole proves that Dallas is too good for Alexisonfire, though he clashes in that group so well. It proves that man can break away from his reality and acquire a dream in the process. Definitely a solid release for the acoustic scene, and a brilliant work of art from Dallas Green. It can definitely be topped, and has been by his sophomore release. But still, thank you, Dallas.