Thereâ€™s nothing quite like unpretentious indie music that you can enjoy without thinking too much about it. Though City and Colourâ€™s Retrospective doesnâ€™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 everymanâ€™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 weâ€™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 â€œSave Your Scissorsâ€ starts the album off, leading into â€œCominâ€™ Home,â€ 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 â€œThe Girlâ€ stands out as the albumâ€™s most commercial hit (3.6 million Youtube views, yaâ€™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 â€œbright like the sun” and â€œIâ€™ll sleep when I am dead,â€ which leave us crestfallen, as we find ourselves anticipating the words before they are sung, standing corrected after thinking thereâ€™s no way Dallas Green would use that tired idiomâ€¦ But then again, when an album has a title like Retrospective and weâ€™re alarmed at its use of clichÃ© and not-quite-experimental style, well, maybe then thatâ€™s on us.