If I Should Go Before You starts on a misleading, if not ambitious note. Opening with the minimal soundscape of Woman, moving between scattered vocal sections and minimal, moody instrumentals focusing on the guitar riffs, it sets a moody tone for the album that seems to ring true with its title. In truth it’s a relatively mundane album, never matching the scope of its lead in terms of scale, but occasionally overpowering it in terms of quality.
Admittedly, the album takes its time getting into the swing of things. The three songs following directly after the intro are all simple songs, lacking any real defining features; there’s some blues influence in Mizzy C that’s intriguing but never really goes anywhere, and the slow swinging pace of the title track If I Should Go Before You is pleasant, if not at odds with the song’s lyrical content. They make for a strangely unfitting follow-up to Woman, but lead into some quality material directly afterwards.
Wasted Love is the real turning point of the album, offering a blues track more attitude and staying power through its riffs alone than the earlier half managed to wrangle; it’s also the point where the album turns to a more familiar country style for the next three tracks. These signify the album’s shining moments, with Lover Come Back being its peak; the twang in the guitar and the organ that appears throughout the song give it a clearly defined identity, and Dallas Green’s vocals fit the earnest tone of the lyrics perfectly.
While the final two tracks see a dip in quality again, the defining section of songs between Killing Time and Map of the World are what make this such an enjoyable album. It’s a style that fits Green perfectly, though Woman shows another side that could have been tapped into for the sake of making a stronger, more varied album. There’s still a lot to enjoy about If I Should Go Before You, even if it does have its fair share of lower moments.