Henry
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Henry

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By GildTheLily

June 2004

When the first cut, "Fun In The Sun", began to spin, I was transported to a time when music's emotion had a sinister edge, a darker tint. Think the quirky delivery of the Pixies, the campy appeal of Fluorescein and the drama of the Damned, or, more suitably, the Jesus & Mary Chain and you might get an inkling of the sound.

The sound continues into "Fever Stay Low Fever Stay Late", with it's campy, sinister country sound that builds into raucous early punk tinged guitar sound. It's an energetic and addictive track.

Don Gould's vocals may require a few listens before they grow on everyone. They are deep, somber, sometimes campy, but quite appealing. They are probably an acquired taste, but once acquired they're a taste you'll want more of. I would suggest that he be careful about tackling too many songs that require him to stretch his vocals beyond the limit of his capabilities., especially high notes. An example of this failed stretch can be heard on "Good Message" where he sounds strained and stretched, and his voice takes on an almost falsetto false.

One of the best things about this album is the slow/fast time changes. They are edgy and intense and perfectly suited to the style of music Henry has decided to tackle. The formula doesn't become formulaic or boring because they have a definite knack for the sound and the style.

As a big fan of early Jesus & Mary Chain recordings, I was quite pleased with what I'd assumed was the obvious influence of said band on Henry. It manifests itself magnificently on "Don't Wait Forever" and "My Home". But imagine my surprise when, after reading up on the band, none of the members of the band mention J&M Chain. Still, I hear it and applaud it.

Does my love of the influence add to my rating of Henry themselves? Of course...as would any reviewer's rating. There's nothing wrong with having an influence, nor with imitating the sound of the influence. Henry takes it a step further by adding their own unique stamp to the sound. Well done.
- South of Mainstream.com


By Ted Drozdowski

September 2004

Every pop trio adopts a distinctive sonic strategy. Buffalo Tom went for big, sprawling tones. The comparatively new local outfit Henry have kept things more neat and tidy — at least in their recorded arrangements. They ricochet between the churn and angst of the Velvet Underground and the trim guitarisms of Television, especially in the push-and-pull "Fever Stay Low Fever Stay Late," which tells the story of songwriter Don Gould’s breakdown and how his sisters swept him off to the hospital in "a little Fiat."

That song is from a new album called A Little Fiat, which follows 2002’s Cyanide (both on the band’s Dumb Dufus Brain imprint). Although the relationships in Gould’s songs often run poisonous, his guitar provides a dose of sweetening, like the taste of almonds that accompanies arsenic. The band are completed by drummer Brian Toomey and the melodically wise bassist Tom Rasku. Caught live recently at the Kirkland Café in Somerville, they were edgy and clamorous — sometimes a little too loud to do justice to Gould’s lyrics, given the club’s light-duty sound system, and sometimes so loud they were dead-on, especially when making like the Underground in a cover of "Waiting for My Man." Overall, their music echoes back to a time when punk rock was artier and less codified but still captured, as Gould likes to say of his own writing, the "loneliness, paranoia, and dirt of the human condition." Henry will return to the Kirkland Café on Thursday, September 30. - Boston Phoenix


By Michael Toland

August 2004

A little new wave melody, a pinch of postmodern angst, a smidge of lackadaisical vocal stylings and a whole lotta distorted guitar—sounds a lot like a certain strain of 90s alternative rock, don't it? But Boston trio Henry avoids being a Dinosaur Jr clone by sounding like it puts actual effort into craft on its second album, with sharp tunes and a winsome sense of dynamics. At its worst, Henry's music drifts in one ear and out the other without leaving much of an impression; at its best it makes me think I'm hearing a fantasy team-up of Lou Reed and the Pixies. Henry is obviously still in the developmental stage; give it time and it will no doubt grow into something truly remarkable. - High Bias


By Chris Lupton

August 2004

Henry's debut, Cyanide, caught the attention of quite a few people. MTV licensed one of Henry's songs for their "Sorority and Fraternity Life" series. (It's nice to know that even if MTV doesn't show music videos anymore that they find a place for a few songs in their hip, new original programs.) The Boston trio draws on much of the last twenty years of alternative rock, from late-80's college rock to punk to grunge. Singer/guitarist Don Gould's restrained vocal delivery is reminiscent of Morphine's Mark Sandman. A Little Fiat is both catchy and familiar without being derivative. - Impact Press


By Scott Cheshire

May 2004

Good for Henry. It seems they're reaping some of the benefits of hard work. Apparently, MTV has licensed some of their songs after the wave of almost unanimous critical acclaim for their previous effort, Cyanide, a virtual potpourri of what's been good in American rock-and-roll for the last forty or more years. And now the new record: more of the same. Which is a hell of a lot. Three middle-aged guys telling stories of dark love, drugs, suicide, drinking, cars and all the things we hate and love. Vocalist and guitarist Don Gould spins his stories well and understated in a style that has been compared to everyone from Lou Reed to Mark Sandman. The production is well suited to each song. Throaty and dirty for the louder numbers. If you've read their press before, you probably noticed the amount of attention given to the assumed influences of Lou Reed and the Underground, Dinosaur Jr., Morphine sans horns, etc… without paying attention to these songs. So lets forget whom they sound like, or why they sound like them. Henry is a damn good band on their own and these are damn good songs. I hope they plan on visiting New York City in the near future so I can see them do their thing on stage. To be honest though, I think Henry is at it's best when they turn down the distortion and the volume. Songs like “Wash” and “Good Message”, subtle, restrained and heartfelt, are far more powerful than anything else on the record and bring to mind the stories of Larry Brown. Stories written by a man, about what it is to be a man, the often sad but hopeful thing it can be. - Performer Magazine


By Debbie Catalano

November 2003

This is what hip is … cool … dark … beats … images of The Velvet Underground, percussion, smooth bass, and punk waft a smoky vibe. I dug this a lot and have almost little more to say – which is good. Led by the Mark Sandman-like vocals of Don Gould, accompanied by the groovy bass and drums of Tom Rasku and Brian Toomey, Henry possess that beat poetry, introspecting underground rock feel. I haven’t heard a CD like this in a while, so it felt good to hear this one. “Cyanide” is a mood-setting, laidback, collection of eight tracks that holds this element of artistry and depth. Maybe it’s time again to take a walk on this side … the beat that Henry’s setting. - SoundCheck


By Joe Hartlaub

April 2003

It's hard to overestimate the influence which The Velvet Underground has had upon rock music over the past...shit, it's been almost 40 years since THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO came out, and that album and what came after influenced everyone from David Bowie to Television to Dinosaur, Jr. to The Strokes. It's entirely possible that kids who are forming bands now are finding that LP in their grandfathers' record collections. Scary. And, if anything, the Velvets have become more of an influence recently, with new bands releasing discs every month, it seems, which attempt to capture that decadent magic that the group in general, and Lou Reed in particular, left behind.

The entry into the Velvet Underground sweepstakes this month is Henry. Henry is a guitar/bass/drums trio; none of the gentlemen are, of course, named Henry, and, unlike the title of their debut CD, this is no bitter pill to swallow here. The group name probably relates more to the movie Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, in that even during its quietest moments one detects a subtle, dangerous roiling just beneath the surface. This is music that you want to watch carefully, but don't want to look in the eye. The Velvet Underground influence is obvious here, with guitarist/vocalist Don Gould's soporific vocals drifting over three cord progressions delivered with authority. The tracks here, particularly "Old Seventeen," are probably closer to V.U.'s third, self-titled drug-laced nightmare as opposed to WHITE LIGHT WHITE HEAT or what is known as The Banana Album. "Lost Vacation," however, sounds in parts like it might have borrowed a riff or two from "Heroin," without the sturm und drang ending. No matter; Henry's CYANIDE has all the elements, particularly the technically casual musicianship that meanders along, but always, always forward. The drum and bass opening to "Broke in the Wood" is faintly menacing, and by the time that Gould's vocals and guitars come in the listener is uneasy without knowing quite why. It's kind of what The Violent Femmes seemed to be struggling toward on a lot of their work but never quite accomplished, so it's somewhat disconcerting to hear Henry nail it, and so well, after only a few minutes. The production is just this side of lo-fi, and is accordingly damn-near perfect. The only thing that doesn't really work immediately on CYANIDE is the title track, but even that will grow on you after a few listenings.

CYANIDE goes by way too fast. Henry sounds as if it has the chops to go deep in the future. They hopefully will eschew any misguided attempt to pretty up their sound, to make it more radio friendly. Their audience, and its sure to be a large one, will find them.
**** - Music-reviewer.com


By Gail Worley

March 2003

Whether anyone will own up to it or not, one of Lou Reed’s most significant contributions to music is his laying of the groundwork for widespread acceptability of singers who can’t -- or won’t -- actually sing. A few critics have blanketed Boston-based, eclectic soft rock trio, Henry, with near ubiquitous comparisons to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground -- in large part due to Henry vocalist, Don Gould’s mostly monotone, sung/spoken-yet emotive lyrical delivery. To my ears, that influence isn’t as glaring as perhaps the slow-seeping musical overspill of Reed’s many disciples; REM, The Pixies, The Breeders, Frank Black, and The Lemonheads, to name drop just a few. It also seems worth a mention that The Velvet Underground is the primary band with whom critics once compared the Strokes; and the Strokes fucking suck. Not to say that Henry’s brief (8 songs) but lovely debut, Cyanide, doesn’t have its fair share of "Gosh, this sounds an awful lot like (insert Lou Reed song title here)." The point is, when it comes to rock criticism, there truly is no objective reality.

Cyanide has an intimate, Sunday morning music feel to it, with Gould’s minor chord guitar playing providing a comfortable bed for his intimate, engaging story songs. “Light Coming Through the Ceiling” temporarily kicks the album into a higher gear with its upbeat, old school punk texture similar to 'Spiral Scratch' or 'Another Music in a Different Kitchen'-era Buzzcocks, making it one of the album’s most appealing tracks. The band then slip back into a seductive, heroin-paced drone with “Old Seventeen.” In this way, Henry works an atmospheric “mood groove” angle along the line of what critics darling bands like Gomez do best. Bassist Tom Rasku and drummer Brian Toomey fill in all the spaces between with just the right rhythmic essence. Cyanide is a remarkable debut from a fairly young band, and worth a listen if you dig any of the bands mentioned here. - Ink19.com


By Jesse Thomas

February 2003


Finally, a band who openly embraces early '90s grunge rock, and expounds upon it without sounding like a throwback. Henry sounds, at times, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney, yet with a post-grunge twist that makes it both reminiscent and evolved. Although I loathe ballads (and they sneak one in early, "Old Seventeen" is track 3), they augment it with a classic rock guitar solo that never seems out of place or tasteless. Then "Broke in the Wood" creeps along with an impending sense of menace, the almost whispered vocals sounding like the epitaph for the '90s. Too bad this band is named after my cousin, because he's a dick. Otherwise, an excellent-if-bittersweet effort from the beautifully out-of-time Henry.
- The Noise - Boston


By Lydia Cox

December 2002


Is it possible for anyone to produce a truly original piece of art today? Isn’t everything modeled after something that has come before us? The truth is that humans have been copying each other since the beginning of time. We spend all of our life imitating those we admire, and we admire those who are successful. Very few people are able to create anything that is completely original, and if they do, they are most likely crazy.

So it does not come as a surprise that the Boston-based trio Henry sounds uncannily like The Velvet Underground, whom they say are one of their main influences. For a band that has been together less than a year, the best path to success was to imitate the music that inspired them to start a band in the first place. There is no mistaking that Lou Reed’s vocals and The Velvet Underground as a whole had a large impact on Henry’s music.

Especially significant on their debut album Cyanide, which was released in mid-November, is the track of the same name. “Cyanide” is for the most part a spoken-word piece which brings to mind The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.”

Let’s think about this. Heroin. Cyanide. Instantaneously one conjures up the image of a deadly substance. Both songs deal with the fear of being alone. Both songs are driven by monotone vocals. A coincidence? I think not.

Henry branches out a little in “Light Coming Through the Ceiling,” producing an upbeat, punk-fueled sound that could be compared to The Stooges. However, the fast-paced drumming causes frontman Don Gould’s vocals to be lost. While the song throws some energy into the album, it does little else. Henry is at its best when sticking to The Velvet Underground formula, as they play with narration against a backdrop of fairly primitive beats.

The remaining tracks give listeners a laid-back, easy-going feeling that is nothing short of relaxing. Lyrically, Henry provides songs of substance, which allows for deeper listening. The simple days of childhood, trust, and friendship are just a few of the subjects broached.

While Cyanide is short —- only eight tracks —- Henry might be on to something. Work on a follow-up album has already begun, and if the trio can keep up with what they have started, success just might follow. - ActionmanMAGAZINE


Discography

Up A Rope - EP - May 2006
A Little Fiat - LP - Late 2003
Cyanide - EP - Late 2002

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The band Henry formed in late 2001 with a sound reminiscent of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, The Call, and The Velvet Underground. Originally a trio, their early recordings had a raw lo-fi charm that played well on college radio in Boston.

Henry's first EP was called 'Cyanide'. The 8-song d.i.y. release was well received in the US indie press and college radio. MTV licensed their song 'Broke In The Wood'. And the band followed up with 'A Little Fiat' in 2003, a 10-song release that reached underground in London and Berlin.

Henry returned with a new line-up in 2005. Their latest release is called 'Up A Rope'. This is alt-rock noir. Mixed by David Minehan at Woolly Mammoth Sound, this 7-song EP has already generated significant pre-release buzz in Boston's indie underground scene.

"This is what hip is ... cool ... dark ... images of The Velvet Underground ... a punk waft and smoky vibe." -Debbie Catalano, SoundCheck

"I was transported to a time when music's emotion had a sinister edge, a darker tint." -www.southofmainstream.com

"They ricochet between the churn and angst of the Velvet Underground and the trim guitarisms of Television... Their music echoes back to a time when punk rock was artier and less codified..." -Ted Drozdowski, The Boston Phoenix

"It's a little bit shoegazing, it's a little bit Mary Chain, with nods to the requisite Velvet Undergound influences. Song about love, drugs and suicide will always have a home amongst the disenfranchised and the uninteresting, and these throaty tales are as good as the genre gets." -Zeitgeist, UK

"A little new wave melody, a pinch of postmodern angst, a smidge of lackadaisical vocal stylings and a whole lotta distorted guitarsounds a lot like a certain strain of 90s alternative rock, don't it? At its best it makes me think I'm hearing a fantasy team-up of Lou Reed and the Pixies." -Michael Toland, High Bias

"A remarkable debut from a fairly young band." -Gail Worley, Ink19.com

"An excellent-if-bittersweet effort from the beautifully out-of-time Henry." -Jesse Thomas, The Noise-Boston