Dallas Green says he doesn't care what critics think about his music. From another artist, that might be fronting cliché. But from the guy who left a heavily tattooed post-hardcore band to become a tender singer/songwriter, it seems sincere - he's not concerned with expectations. He does care about songwriting, though, a focus reflected in these 12 tracks of wistful acoustic guitar. There's always something melancholy stirring beneath Green's pleasant melodies. Chord progressions are never joyful. (The most overtly upbeat tune also directly slags off critics - sort of like telling someone to fuck off with a big smile.)
Those who hoped for a happy City and Colour album have a while to wait; his fourth solo effort finds him hovering around happy but unable to attain it. His greatest strength is his storytelling: lyrics are never expected or trite, not annoyingly inscrutable but just obscure enough to be intriguing. It's coolly vulnerable for the Juno-winning half of a legit Canadian power couple. Could it be that successful artists are just people, too?
Top track: The Hurry And The Harm
City and Colour plays The Commons @ Butler's Barracks Historic Site on Saturday (June 29).