Dan Andriano and The Bygones Create a Stellar Rock Album Full of Lament and Hope
4.9 out of 5 stars
Dan Andriano might be best known for his other project, Alkaline Trio, but that doesn’t mean that his new release under the moniker Dan Andriano & The Bygones is anything to be shunned.
I know I have a tendency to discount side projects a bit, but this is definitely not one of those times.
Andriano put together quite possibly one of the best rock albums that will come out this year with the album Dear Darkness which is out on Epitaph Records.
It is full of full volume rock songs mixed with a few more intimate-sounding recordings where a lot of the rock vibrato is tamped down and stripped away to fit the songs.
The album comes out really strong with the first three songs being some absolutely legit rock songs.
The first song “Narcissus, Amateur Classic Narcissist” is a self-reflective (and probably social reflection) about how as we get older, we tend to stick in our ways and deepen our bad habits that make our lives inflexible.
This inevitably leads to problems with others and even within ourselves. In the face of time and getting old, it appears Andriano asks, “Will we do anything about it?”
The next song “Sea Level” which is the first single off the album as well is a pretty straightforward (but REALLY catchy) rock song. A simple concept behind this one in that it is trying to get to a point of emotional, mental, and physical well-being, but, of course, as seems to be a common theme with Andriano’s work over the years, it is through a bit of pain and suffering.
The guitar work on “Dear Darkness” (the title track) is really cool. A bit honky tonk or Nashville twang thrown in to start this rock song out and a solo towards the latter part of the song showcase some of the musical talent in the band (accompanied by Randy and Dylan Moore on the album).
In this one, Andriano is writing and speaking directly to depression or isolation or just a lingering mood of not being happy and telling it to “go find yourself another friend.” It’s actually a good way to confront your own issues without making it so depressing in its tone itself. It’s got a lot of hope and inspiration behind this one.
“Wrong” is definitely a song that will have you feeling some emotional connection as the song talks about trying to get through to that friend or family member who might be a bit of a screw up or feel like they aren’t worth being around, and how we as friends have to snap these ones back into reality and let them know we care, and that they’re wrong.
I don’t want to dissect each and every song, because it is worth discovering them for yourself as well. But another really good song on the album is “You Must Be Cold” as it relates to Andriano trying to help his wife get to a happy place and soon. It's very intimate and raw.
My favorite song is probably “The Rest of You” which seems to be a song recalling a friendship that Andriano had as child or young adult that leads me to believe the other person is either dead or estranged. It’s a very sincere song that does leave a bit up to the imagination.
There are no bad songs on this album, and the backing band (the Moore Brothers - who are huge Alkaline Trio fans themselves) do a great job of fitting with Andriano very well. According to the band’s website, it was Mike Park of Asian Man Records who put the pieces of the band together after Andriano had sent him some demos. Well done, Mike. It’s a great fit.