Even though What Was Once Is By and Gone is only Darius Koski’s second solo record, he is no stranger to the spotlight. Having spent nearly thirty years in the industry, most notably in the 90s punk group Swingin’ Utters, Koski’s experience shines in his latest release. What Was Once Is By and Gone boasts elements of classic americana, folk, and jazz, calling upon the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
When Darius Koski isn’t touring with the Swingin’ Utters or recording solo albums, he is a plumber. He doesn’t sing about unclogging toilets or wrenching on sinks, but it’s easy to hear his personal life reflected in his lyrics. He writes of the various struggles that accompany adulthood and the challenges that come with attempting to balance the exploration of one’s passions with a rational working life. The album’s opening track, “Black Sheep,” finds Koski explaining the benefits of not fitting the mold of any particular station in life. The multi-genre maze that embodies Koski’s entire career as a musician is a manifestation of these values; he seems to embrace the concept of being “a jack of all trades and a master of none.”
What Was Once Is By and Gone is an eclectic set of multi-layered ballads, wrought with both somber and joyful instrumentations that dare to bridge some gap between folk and punk. The experimental nature of Koski’s songwriting arguably creates a sound that is somewhat unapproachable at first listen. However, the catchy melodies that are buried within the complexity of his work will eventually stand out, making his latest production a taste that is well worth acquiring.