Henry and the Nightcrawlers band members read like an all-star line-up from some of the best indie bands in BC at this time – The Zolas (Zachary Gray and Tom Dobrzanski), We Are The City (Andy Huculiak and Cayne MacKenzie) and Said The Whale (Peter Carruthers). Leading the band is Henry Alcock-White (The Zolas and formerly of Bend Sinister) who takes this talented group into this riveting collection of songs called 100 Blows, the debut and birth of Henry and the Nightcrawlers. One thing that should be said about this 10 song CD is that this is a journey of two people and how each affects the other.
Having said that, the title song “100 Blows” opens with quirky upbeat drums and weirdly off-key backing vocals which set the stage for this unusual and likeable song. Laid back guitars and a good mix of lead and backing vocals make this an interesting song musically. Lyrically, this song speaks of pain (the pain that you feel and the way in which it burns) and of life’s hard knocks (trying to start a fire without a match/rocking your kayak forth and back). “The Fucking” is a song in ¾ time and is a favorite of this writer. It speaks of wonder, waiting and not wanting to be fucked with because that game is old (it’s better to be fucked than to do the fucking/so don’t fuck with me I won’t play that game). Musically, the guitar solo is pure blues and works well with the keys in the background and the vocal work by Henry is superb – a bit angry, a bit sad and speaking your mind about how you really feel. “The Fight (La Luncha)” musically reminds me of cabaret-style music (much like The Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer) mixed with blues done in 2/4 time which builds with consistency through the song like mountains and valleys. Lyrically, its about seeing through bullshit basically and this song ends strong with a chorus of voices changing “La Luncha”. Well done! Other standout songs are “Fan the Flames” which is about painful memories of a past relationship (some things are never forgotten/some loves should never have happened) which is also musically appealing; “On a Week Night” is the longest song which musically is up-tempo and upbeat and moves fluidly but has biting lyrics (it’s kind of like love/with a lot of self-destruction/my head is getting heavy/my head is deconstructing). The musical breaks in this song are interesting and original. Musically the song, as well as life for the singer, is chaotic. For this writer, the best on the CD is “Amberly”. So many influences are heard in this one song. The vocals work so well with the music it sounds like magic in many ways. The musicianship is very fluid and all members are on the same page with this song as well as all the songs in this eclectic band.
-Jade Sperry, 12 November, 2010