Dan Andriano In the Emergency Room - Party Adjacent (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dan Andriano In the Emergency Room

Party Adjacent (2015)

Asian Man Records

There was no Alkaline Trio album this year. However, 2015 has seen not one, not two, but all three members releasing solo albums. The strongest of the three -- Dan Andriano In the Emergency Room’s Party Adjacent -- is the latest to arrive.

Dan Andriano’s sophomore solo outing delivers more of his heartfelt sorrow. Since the release of “Lost,” it’s been clear that Party Adjacent would be something a bit different. There are plenty of Trio comparisons to be made, but that’s really a disservice to the album. “Fire Pit” is aurally the most similar to recent Trio work, but still stands on its own. All those B-sides from This Addiction and My Shame is True were incredible but didn’t necessarily fit those albums’ themes. Here, Andriano doesn’t have to worry about sharing the spotlight. Here, he can speak freely.

Party Adjacent opens with a lullaby -- sort of. “Pretty Teeth”’s soft melody lets Andriano’s low register lead the listener through a simple melody only to have the full band enter halfway and change things up. This is not the punk goes troubadour schtick you’ve heard a thousand times before.

Andriano doesn’t seem particularly happy. Nor did he on Hurricane Season. Lyrically, he spends a lot of time beating himself up. Either for his “notes [being] sloppy and obsolete” or how he’s been trying his “whole life to find where [he] fits in.” His words are stark and powerful, but most importantly, truthful. No one does brutal honestly quite like Dan Andriano and here he’s turned it up to eleven. The lone guitar on “Don’t Have a Thing” tears at the heart chords with its, “If you’re gonna say something, go on say everything, don’t just say anything. If you’re gonna love someone, do it honestly and completely.” Lines like these are his bread and butter, and, as always, failed relationships play a large role in his stories. “I don’t want to be the reason that you’re not happy. I’m just happy to be here breathing the same air you do” shows his ability to mix joy with sadness, offering the slightest sign of hope.

While Hurricane Season was recorded almost entirely by Andriano, this time he’s opted for the full-band approach. Backed by Mike Huguenor (Hard Girls/Shinobu/Classics of Love) and Kevin Higuchi (The Jeff Rosenstock Band), The Emergency Room now adds a much-needed shot of energy to the woeful tunes. Rosenstock produced the whole ordeal, blending the lines between professional capability and punk rock grit. “Plain Old Whiskey” especially makes ample use of Rosenstock’s production and Andriano’s lone guitar.

Dan’s putting himself out there which is great for old and new fans alike. This is an incredibly solid release for a side project, and, while it may not have the pop flare of his day job, Party Adjacent's dark intimacy continues to pay off with each listen.