Review Summary: Green shows he can cash in on his potential, just on an EP.
I am a huge fan of City and Colour (Dallas Green for those of you who don't know). He is probably one of my favourite artists, and I greatly anticipated his new album. You can imagine my surprise then, when the first sounds I heard were not of a guitar, or a voice, or even a piano. Instead I heard floorboards creaking. This was a recurring theme through the album; an almost "live" feel that was supposed to make the listener feel like they were in the room with Dallas. Unsurprisingly, the theme failed. The only complaint most had about the album was the production, and most saw it as a real setback to what could have been a real classic.
Four months later, this MySpace Transmissions EP shows up. Coincidence? I think not. On this record, there are no stomp boards, no creaky floorboards, none of the weird instrumental choices that appeared on Bring Me Your Love. This is just a man, his guitar and his harmonica, creating beautiful, magical music. Everything about these songs is better than the original versions in my opinion. For instance, "As Much As I Ever Could" seems so pure when there are not the backing vocals in the mix. His voice soars above the guitar in a way reminiscient of Jeff Buckley. "Body in a Box" seems more vibrant before. Green seems to enjoy singing on this album so much more than on BMYL. It seems like this is genuinely his perfect setting, simple and elegant. "Against the Grain" is hair-raisingly beautiful.
Many will talk about his cover of "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" by Rose Royce, but I feel that it isn't a particularly significant track, as he doesn't really make the track his own. However, the original is such a classic, it really would have to be stunning to top it. It is a decent cover, but it isn't really anything to write home about.
It all comes to a climax when "The Girl" comes on. This was already a wonderful song, and a definite highlight of the previous album, but here, it is simply mindblowing. The funny thing is, he hasn't made any major changes to the song, (apart from leaving out the last section) but with this production it seems idyllic. A picture is painted of...well, his beautiful girl. Green's soul is put on display here, from love gained ("The Girl") to love lost ("Love Don't Live Here Anymore").
In conclusion, I love this EP. This is what BMYL should have been, and it proves he has the talent to make something truly wonderful. My only critisism of it is that it isn't, well, the album. If he combined the rawness of Sometimes with the production of this EP and the songs from BMYL, I truly think he would be held in as high a regard as Buckley or Neil Young. For now though, we'll just have to listen to what could have been.