Design By Humans
Published On: Sat, Aug 10th, 2013

City and Colour: Retrospective

city and colourCity and Colour
(Vagrant Records)

There’s nothing quite like unpretentious indie music that you can enjoy without thinking too much about it. Though City and Colour’s Retrospective doesn’t represent much of a departure from their previous work, it delivers more of what made us fall for them in the first place. This is everyman’s indie music, with melodies and lyrics that even the most un-gauged ears can delight in. Relying heavily on pleasing acoustic riffs with melancholy lyrical overtones, Retrospective takes us where we want to go, down a nostalgic, though not quite sad road, one we’re used to without being sick of, and one whose comforting familiarity makes every little twist in the path all the more exhilarating.

Right away, we are swept up in a rush of twangy sound as “Save Your Scissors” starts the album off, leading into “Comin’ Home,” which is set up against a background of steady rhythm interspersed with the occasional dreamy electric riff, as if to remind the listener that C&C can do more than just acoustic folk. The Gibbardian “The Girl” stands out as the album’s most commercial hit (3.6 million Youtube views, ya’ll) with hollow vocals laid over campy finger-picking, which changes direction halfway through and becomes a Mumford-esque folk pop good-time tune, essentially forcing us to acknowledge the kind of jolting versatility that City and Colour is capable of.

Lyrically however, Retrospective is at times brutally unsurprising, with such lines as “bright like the sun” and “I’ll sleep when I am dead,” which leave us crestfallen, as we find ourselves anticipating the words before they are sung, standing corrected after thinking there’s no way Dallas Green would use that tired idiom… But then again, when an album has a title like Retrospective and we’re alarmed at its use of cliché and not-quite-experimental style, well, maybe then that’s on us.

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City and Colour: Retrospective