The name Dan Kiener might not be an obvious one to many, however undoubtedly many will have been on the receiving end of his work as a touring sound engineer for The Gaslight Anthem or Bruce Springsteen for that matter, or even as one of the central figures behind the bands Magpies and Vultures and, more recently, The Mixtape Saints.
You could therefore be forgiven for thinking this solo album under the moniker Goodness Greyness Me would be an Americana influenced nostalgic blue colour love affair. Instead Dan offers up a selection of British art-punk (think The Rakes), Weezer cross over tunes that hit all the pop sensibility spots through a synth heavy debut album.
Completely self-produced, Goodness Gracious Me is probably more akin in its perspective and delivery to American Emo / Indie legend Emperor X; it's a one man orchestra producing a rich tapestry of soundscapes that at times can be ethereal and Cure-esque. Such is the case of opener "The Good Old Days Are Gone" or "Hard to Shake", to more straight-up emo influenced songs reminiscent of Clarity era Jimmy Eat World "A Curious Thing" or "Stabiliser", the latter here a real standout that asks for repeated listens to truly appreciate.
“If this love don’t last...” draws on Bloc Party influences especially the guitar work, which reminds me of tracks off of the album “Four”. Likewise showing the mid-00s influence “Tryst and Shout” is a straight-up indie rock song that evokes Franz Ferdinand or the aforementioned The Rakes, again.
Where the album excels is when the pop elements are brought to the fore; “Wheels Come Off” is guaranteed to put a smile on many faces and showcases Dan’s voice and range brilliantly. It’s a great sing-a-long song with a massive hook. It’s also a great example of using loud and quiet moments to build tension and euphoria in a song; akin to how the Pixies “Debaser” works so well.
This is a strong debut solo album and, whilst a little left field at times with some of the sound effects (where less could have been more), shows considerable promise. Given the summery vibes and poppy feel on offer, releasing it in October seems a bit strange. It’s certainly the sort of album you could play on a long BBQ evening; but maybe that’s the point, whilst greyness might be the theme of the seasons now this certainly brings a bit of sunshine in.
Stream and download Goodness Greyness Me here: https://goodnessgreynessme.bandcamp.com/releases
This review was written by Richard Mair.