Review: Goodnight Daniel – Self titled EP


Richmond guitar trio gets cozy on their debut EP.

Brett Jones is a careful man.

Listening through this EP by he, bassist Garen Dorsey and drummer Daniel Richardson, you can’t help notice a sense of restraint. A feeling that the group is setting aside more expressive instrumental virtuosity for diligent attention to detail. Every note is, as Jones sings on the lush track Fade, “evenly spaced and placed in time.”

Every song has a warm and inviting sonic profile. There’s enough variation to keep you occupied, but it never feels too indulgent. From Richardson’s understated and inventive drumming, to Dorsey’s contrapunctual basslines, and Jones’ unique approach to the guitar, all the instrumentation on this record is perfectly suited to the context it resides in.

Good Night Daniel is constantly subverting expectations in the most polite and conscientious way possible. The songs on GND EP don’t scream out for attention themselves, but an astute listener will recognize the subtle twists that Jones and Co. have woven into the music, like the rhythmic U-turns, the trio whips on Not Enough, or the slow motion harmonic acrobatics of Mountain.  

There is also a great deal of space on this record which a less enlightened group might have filled with a synth or 16th note hi-hats or something. The silence that hangs in the air amidst palm-muted strums of acoustic guitar, or between shifting song segments, serve to highlight what is actually there. It’s pretty damn refreshing given the density-focused tip most music is on these days.

Ultimately, the Goodnight Daniel EP is a gentle reminder that great and boundary-poking pop music can still be made by guitar trios through a meticulous approach to composition and arrangement.

I’ll be waiting patiently to see what they do next, curled up in my bed with a cup of tea and this record playing on repeat.

Goodnight Daniel’s self titled EP is out now on Sad Cactus Records. You can pre-order the cassette here. You can also check out their music on Spotify.

The band is playing a release show Wednesday (3/6) with Ing and Juliana Daugherty at The Darkroom in Scott’s Addition.

Words by Will Mullany