Dan Andriano – Party Adjacent

By Jason Swearingen

Alkaline Trio has, over the years, seen a plethora of side projects from it’s small handful of members. Some have been forgettable, while others, like The Falcon, have demanded a great amount of attention. In my opinion, bassist and singer Dan Andriano’s first LP under the moniker of Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room fell somewhere in the middle, but definitely slid quickly out of rotation, which is why it’s all the more exciting that Party Adjacent is the best Alkaline Trio-related project in a long time.

The record kicks off with “Pretty Teeth,” a slow burn that captivates the listener while making it immediately apparent that something different lies ahead. The instrumentation and use of dynamic is similar to Bob Mould’s Life and Times LP, and the way the song charges into a full-band energy around two minutes in is also reminiscent of that album’s title track.

What follows is a mix of pop, punk and alt-rock that, honestly sounds like nothing else we’ve heard from Andriano before. Sure, the croon is the same, but the vibe is inherently different from Alkaline Trio. This record would fit in a collection perfectly between Lemonheads and Sugar albums. A good part of this record’s sonic complexity could be attributed to Jeff Rosenstock’s production. While not overbearing, his hand can be felt all over Party Adjacent, and that’s excellent. There are risks all over the place, and they pay off more often than not.

Lyrically, this is my favorite stuff from Andriano in years. It’s loaded with the kind of wordplay with which the Trio made their name (and has been mostly missing recently), but without the childish obsession with creepy imagery. A favorite line of mine is “No love was lost today, but no love was made,” from the album’s closer, “Snake Bites.” This is the old man version of Alkaline Trio’s more plaintive member, in the best possible way: Wistful rather than sad, objective instead of impulsive, reflective not reactionary.

That said, the album does overstay its welcome, if only slightly. While I’d be hard-pressed to pick which songs to cut, if Party Adjacent were 10 tracks, it’d probably hit a little harder. Also, the album cover is, to put it kindly, not good. An album this rich really deserved something a bit more conceptual and grand for it’s artwork.

It seems unfair to compare this record so much to Alkaline Trio, as it is one of the few related projects to equal them in my eyes. But I think that’s why I make the connection: To contrast, rather than compare. What makes this record interesting is how comfortably it reinvents a familiar sound. The songwriting neither runs from or to its more famous predecessor. It is neither a pale imitation or an overwrought attempt to push too far in another direction. Party Adjacent is a unique high watermark both for Dan Andriano and for those of us who consider ourselves fans.

Three more album reviews for you

El Moono - 'The Waking Sun'

​​Knocked Loose - 'You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To'

Like Moths To Flames - 'The Cycles Of Trying To Cope'