Dan Andriano - Hurricane Season (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dan Andriano

Hurricane Season (2011)

Asian Man

On the last few Alkaline Trio records, my favorite songs by far have been the slower Dan Andriano tunes ("Fine" from This Addiction and "Do You Wanna Know?" from Agony & Irony, for example), so when I heard he was putting out an album of slower tracks by himself, under the name the Emergency Room, I was overjoyed. When he posted a series of demos online, I played them over and over, learning every word. Now billed as Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room, it's been nearly two years since those demos surfaced, and the finished product, Hurricane Season is finally available. So was it worth the wait? Yes, and then some.

Save for some piano tracks and a few sparse backing vocals, Mr. Andriano performed and recorded EVERYTHING on Hurricane Season himself. The result is fascinating, the pure undiluted vision of a singular extremely talented musician. All four of the previously released demos make appearances here, and the title track is the only that has been radically altered from its original form. These new versions are superior, they really are, but if you've grown to love the demos, they will take a little getting used to.

Although those demos could lead one to believe that this would be a purely acoustic-based project, there is actually a fair amount of full-fledged rock songs on Hurricane Season: including "Let Me In", an Elvis Costello-esque power-pop toe-tapper; "On Monday", which harkens back to the glory days of 1990s rock radio; and the newly beefed-up title track. All of which are nothing short of outstanding.

The acoustic songs are no less great, however. "Hollow Sounds" and "Say Say Say" are both beautiful and haunting, despite some weird vocal processing on the latter. "This Light" has a melody not far from Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", and opener "It's Gonna Rain All Day" helps set the mood for the rest of the album.

Despite the many styles explored musically, there is a common thread through most of the album, lyrically. Many songs seem to be describing a long-distance relationship: "This road gets lonelier every day. I already asked you to wait" in "Hollow Sounds"; "I miss you more than I did yesterday...I'm dying while my baby sleeps at home" in "Me and Denver"; as well as the entirety of "Let Me In", to name just a few examples.

Dan Andriano is on top of his game on Hurricane Season. He stretches his legs musically, taking risks that Alkaline Trio wouldn't, or couldn't, and succeeding in just about all of them. His voice sounds better than it ever has, and his lyrics are as great as always. Hurricane Season blows away the last three Alkaline Trio albums as well as most "punk guy goes acoustic" records, which have become increasingly frequent over the last few years. One of the year's best; cannot recommend highly enough. Get this!