review: Holly Henderson – ‘Mystery Man’

hollyhendersonreview by richard archer

This new single from guitarist and singer Holly Henderson is outstanding in its ability to deftly conjure its title character from swathes of guitar that shimmer with both charm and menace, and a tempo that hovers between slow and mid-pace.  The lyrics simmer with a gloomy undercurrent  (“Are your hands really as cold as they were in my sleep?”) and these are given a bluesy delivery that lingers in the ears after the songs finish.
Even the chord progression has a wandering-lost feel to it, rippling in the slightly blurred production, with only intermittent stings of Peter Green-ish lead guitar (the kind of sparse blues he was working on  ‘Then Play On’) to bring it into sharper focus.  Bearing in mind that I don’t know the provenance of the lyrics, to my ears ‘Mystery Man’ sounds like a downbeat counterpart to Kevin Shield’s ‘City Girl’, the beguiling song that he wrote for the film ‘Lost in Translation’.

When you consider the pacing of the song, it is odd that it clocks in just short of three minutes but feels much shorter. But there’s not much that makes sense here and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. This is for sure the most interesting single I’ve heard this year so far.

Holly Henderson on Facebook
Single available on ITunes, Apple Music, Spotify etc

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