Dan Andriano and The Bygones - Dear Darkness (Cover Artwork)

Dan Andriano and The Bygones

Dear Darkness (2022)


Alkaline Trio bassist and legendary Chicago musician Dan Andriano ironed melancholy melodies to sappy storytelling with Dear Darkness.

The songwriter, under the moniker Dan Andriano & The Bygones, opens the LP to bittersweet guitar twangs with "Narcissus, Amatuer Classic Narcissist," hoisting Andriano's unique vocal timbre and catchy repetition. "Sea Level" crashes open with chunky guitars over organ, melting into self-reflection, and holds perhaps the most satisfying pre-chorus-to-chorus of the record, not discounting the following bangers that follow. Title track "Dear Darkness" reverberates a classic, simple Andriano standard as if he is singing to you in a living room, and "Wrong" smashes a piano ballad intro against mountainous Weezer level crescendos and pay-offs.

"The Excess" is an absolute treat, partnering shunning lyrics to (good) Tom Petty grade instrumentals, immediately dropping the high energy for the intimate delivery of "You Must Be Cold." The absolute no-nonsense love song is a spectacular intermission into "It's A Trap Door!," channeling perhaps the most old school Alk3 feel of the 10 songs, and with Andriano's delivery as great as ever. "One Minute Wasted" takes the same direction but adds a decade or so to the Trio, sharing nods and riffs that would have fit perfectly on Crimson or Good Mourning, but in a very fresh way.

The album noticeably makes last call with the beautiful and hopeless "The Rest Of You," a poignant acknowledgement of the artist's long journey and career, and a fucking fantastic piece. "Into Your Dream (The Sophie Moon)" nestles into the always-too-obvious acoustic closer, but Andriano has become so good at them, it speaks for itself.

Dear Darkness is a breathtaking showcase of Dan Andriano's incredible taste, restraint, and yet another indicator as to why he has been an irremovable staple to the genre for decade after decade.