Album review: Dan Andriano & The Bygones – Dear Darkness

Alkaline Trio man Dan Andriano turns down the volume on his latest solo effort…

Album review: Dan Andriano & The Bygones – Dear Darkness
Alistair Lawrence

Grounding so many musicians for so long hasn’t been pleasant, but one positive has been that a diverse range of albums written and recorded during a period where they couldn’t do much else are now starting to appear. One such “lockdowncore” effort is the new offering from Alkaline Trio bassist and co-vocalist Dan Andriano, who dedicated listeners will know is prone to producing much more than frequently adored pitch-black pop-punk.

Taking a Frank Iero-esque approach to naming his bands, The Bygones aren’t the first people to back up Dan on what is essentially his third solo album, after Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room released two LPs. And this is closer to those records than his gonzo supergroup The Falcon, formed with Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms.

Opening track Narcissus, Amateur Classic Narcissist ticks over with a metronomic precision you might expect, before Sea Level fittingly lifts you into something more rousing. For these tracks and across what follows, Dan’s vocals are as honeyed as they are familiar, but it takes the minimal, piano-led Wrong to begin to indicate what the intent appears to be behind this record: try something different and follow your muse.

The downside is that several other songs, while not without their charm, sound more like sketches. Also, the inevitable comparisons with his Alkaline Trio output will leave anyone looking for that band’s memorable hooks or switchblade-sharp turns of phrase disappointed. But as a piece of work that started as a one-man garage band, Dear Darkness is still a carefully crafted meditation inspired by what we’ve all just been though.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Alkaline Trio, The Gaslight Anthem, The Lawrence Arms

Dear Darkness is out now via Epitaph

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