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Study Album Of The Week: City And Colour – “Little Hell”

When I woke up at 5:45 AM this morning, I honestly had no idea what album I was going to review. Among the list of things I had to do, both at my internship and for this blog, an idea for a great study album just didn’t come to me.

This was probably due to my lack of sleep, because only a few hours later I realized that I had added four new albums to my listening list just the night before. Two of these albums  – August Burns Red’s “Leveler” and Of Mice & Men’s “The Flood” – absolutely fall out of the realm of “study music”, as they are both straight-up torrential onslaughts of metalcore. The other two, however, fit this series quite nicely.

I was originally going to review the album I’m most excited for, which is The Dear Hunter’s recently released “The Color Spectrum”. Ever since their last album, “Act III: Life and Death”, dropped in 2009, I’ve patiently waited for this offering. However, upon discovering just how sprawling and epic this release is, I decided to save it until one or two weeks from now so I’d have time to listen to it fully and thus give it the review it deserves.

That brings us to the last album on my list – the subject of this week’s study album feature. “Little Hell” is the latest album by City and Colour, the one-man act comprised of Dallas Green (vocalist for Alexisonfire). City and Colour’s first album, “Sometimes”, was actually featured as one of our favorite study albums last year, and has proven to be one of the most popular albums we’ve reviewed. This one is just as good, which begs the question: why is City and Colour so awesome?

Well, for starters, Dallas Green’s voice is #2 on my list of greatest threats to my girlfriend’s fidelity, surpassed only by the voice Emarosa’s Jonny Craig. Seriously, the guy can sing. Secondly, Green’s music just has an intimate feel to it. It’s really nice to listen to.

However, “Little Hell” isn’t simply a rehash of “Sometimes”. Green is older, wiser, and married now, so the lyrical content has made a definite shift. Another welcome change is Green’s use of instruments other than the acoustic guitar. For example, the song “Fragile Bird” actually has a bit of an alt-rock feel to it, utilizing an electric guitar. Still, he sticks to he acoustic roots on parts of the album, so fans won’t be alienated.

If you’re a City and Colour fan, you’ll love this album. Even if you’ve never heard of Green, you’ll find this album to be a highly enjoyable listen. Check out the playlist above and buy it on Amazon if you like it.