Jack Bragg, Courier Entertainment Editor
Coming out of the gate with a debut that feels natural and catchy is a tricky mark to hit. Local San Francisco band, The Hundred Days, have hit that mark dead-on with their debut album Really?.
The band has sculpted a musical masterpiece that, if paired with decent publicity, could potentially rocket them on to mainstream radio.
Influences are good and plenty with this album. A well experienced listener of alternative rock music can spot influences from bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure, as well as more modern influences like The Killers, The Bravery, and Franz Ferdinand.
The band pairs a blend of dance motivated drumming,courtesy of drummer Colin Crosskill, combined with guitars that tend to harmonize with singer Jon Smith’s dark, almost eerie vocals. Guitarist/keyboardist Jimmy Chen lays down melodies and harmonies that have both sweet contrast to the vocals, yet somehow manage to add a layer of mysticism and dark undertones at the same time. All the while, bassist Brett Zadio manages to keep-up the all important funk bass line throughout the songs, which provides a deep solid rhythm to the ambient sounds of the guitars.
The first song on the album “Girl at a Party” hits you with everything you’d expect from a dance centered alternative band. After a short intro, a small distorted guitar gives lead into the full song. The song itself is a thumping dance tune that tells the story of, as the title suggests, a
girl that singer Jon Smith meets at a party. The song is filled with both the typical lust-infused lyrics of a typical upbeat dance song, but at the same time follows an almost dark irony with the girl claiming that “the boys they all love me/ they all write me songs” but when the singer asks
her if she wants to go “back to her place” she responds “No thanks.”
“Tattoo Girl” follows the rhythm set up by the first song with a more brightly influenced dance tune about Jon Smith again lusting after a “Little tattooed girl”. The song is rather simple in structure and execution but will likely have the listener bobbing their head or flat out dancing depending on social situation and/or the listener’s shame.
The first single off of the album “Sex-U” is a sultry, sexy tune (as the name implies). The song is incredibly catchy and upon listening to it for the first or second time you’re likely to know every word. “Out of Nowhere” brings back the sounds of the early 90’s with a sound
reminiscent of bands like the Cure and other similar acts. The song retains both an upbeat pulse but sustains, at the same time, an almost melancholy sound for a truly enjoyable track that’s unique and approachable at the same time.
The next track shares the name of the band (The Hundred Days, if you’d forgotten) and starts with a short pickup that leads into an almost disco/funk feel that feels reminiscent of acts like the Bee Gees at times. “Disaster” is anything but disastrous, with a guitar intro that feels unstable and unique in such a way that it feels like an entirely new sound. The song retains the dance feel that is prevalent throughout most of the album, but adds a layer of almost sad reflection that manages not to take away from the general feel, but rather add too it in an
entirely unique way.
“Silver and Gold” starts out with an eerie call to “answer me this one last question” that, oddly enough, seems to range almost out of key and might sound off or strange upon listening the first couple times. However, this strange intro tends to be what grabs your attention as the rest of the band follows through with easily the most approachable and deepest song on the album. The music almost seems to betray the dance feel with an almost eerie, dark method that doesn’t clash with the upbeat nature of the song, but rather helps the song formulate a mixture of different emotions throughout the course of the track.
“So What” again feels like a modern rendition of a disco track, or rather, an 80’s track that borrows heavily from disco influences. Again the dance feel brings a melancholy layer that gives the track substantial depth. “Hey” is probably the only song on the album that doesn’t sound particularly like a dance track, but rather a standard alternative track that seems atypical based purely on the juxtaposition of the track to a mix of dance flavors. This all leads up to the final track, “Spin”, a track that gives closure to the album by providing a healthy mix of all the
themes seen throughout the course of the album. The song gives a slight dance feel with a layer of melancholy that is almost betrayed by an uplifting guitar tone.
Really? is a truly remarkable debut for a previously little-known band. The album provides a wonderful mix of unique sounding songs that are not only unique as a whole, but unique to each other. The songs are approachable on the surface, but all the more interesting when one can understand the different layers of feeling beneath each song. Look for the
Hundred Days to be heard on the radio and movie soundtracks in the near future. A band with a sound like this deserves to be heard. Really? gets 5 stars out of 5.