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City and Colour, ‘Little Hell’ (Vagrant)

“I’m slowly sinking into the slough of despond,” wails Dallas Green on the third studio album from City and Colour, his alter ego when not fronting the much noisier Alexisonfire. Don’t mistake him for a whiner, however. Just as his piercing voice and languid tunes echo Neil Young’s rustic side, a Neil-like tough-mindedness runs through Green’s stark meditations, which confront despair head on. If “O’ Sister” ?and “Sorrowing Man” ?are studies of damaged souls, they’re also ?strangely uplifting expressions of compassion.