Holly Henderson: Monday Green – Review

After joining forces with acclaimed guitarist and producer Pete Thorn, British rock singer Holly Henderson’s debut is rife with catchy grunge tunes that pack a punch. Though not groundbreaking work, Monday Green is very easy to enjoy.

In 2017, Pete Thorn (Chris Cornell, Courtney Love) met Holly Henderson, a singer and guitarist he became aware of through Instagram. The partnership has successfully produced Monday Green, the first album Henderson has released. Featuring contributions from Blair Sinta (Stevie Nicks, Alanis Morissette) and Jon Button (The Who, Sheryl Crow), Monday Green is a collection of tracks ranging from grunge to pop-rock.

The main strengths this album has come from Henderson herself. Her tracks are rich and dynamic, turning from melancholy to energetic with the flip of a switch. Her vocals range from soft and withdrawn (Pride Can Wait), to bold and anthemic at times (Doldrums, Frantic) and her guitar skills are impressive throughout.

Monday Green opens with Uncommon Love, a dark love song with the first of several passionate lyrical outbursts. Doldrums delivers the scornful “You’ve always been a vice to me”, with other themes on the album ranging between self-analysis and sass. There’s also the existential crisis-laced Frantic with it’s repeated hook of “Where are we?” that would make Muse blush – a personal favourite of mine from the album.

The album flicks between styles of rock, but there’s the definite presence of grunge throughout. The pop-punk We Sold The Earth has guitar tones straight out off a Soundgarden album, Somebody Knows has composition straight off a Soundgarden album and Doldrums is 90s angst through-and-through.

Henderson cites an eclectic mix of influences and this is evident. Monday Green sounds very coherent, but that’s more as a result of the production than the songwriting. Though each of the ten tracks has cascading guitars, crashing drums and riffs galore, these things are all worked into songs of varying styles. The Ghost of Denmark Street, for example, has swing, led by a a hip-shaking double bass melody. It then pulls off a screeching guitar solo – and it somehow works. Cost of Love starts like Roxanne being covered by The Pretty Reckless and has a Led Zeppelin-style riff as its middle 8, and few other songs I’ve heard so far this year match the snowballing intensity of Frantic, with its apocalyptic chorus and gorgeous vocal harmonies. The album ends with this track, which is another great choice as Monday Green goes out on a high (literally). Thorn’s production makes this track in particular sound gargantuan, though the whole album is well produced too.

Demonstrated by the lyrics and diversity of musical themes, Monday Green is a mature debut from someone who is just 23. There’s potential to get even better, but this record is a really impressive start for Holly Henderson. Monday Green is a coherent collection of tracks that has a unique but well-established musical identity, presented by a talented singer and guitarist.

Monday Green is available from Friday 7th June 2019 on most streaming services.

Verdict: B+

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