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Holly Montgomery – Leaving Eden – Album Review

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There are so few lead singers who play the bass anymore that its even more refreshing coming from a solo artist. On Holly Montgomery‘s Leaving Eden she mixes her Linda Perry-style vocals with amazing bass-lines on an album that crafts amazing classic rock-influenced tunes, while only occasionally suffering from being derivative.

There’s an immediate classic rock feeling from the album’s start on “Drunk On The Power” with hints of Paul McCartney’s Big Barn Bed” with even heavy bass, and a more rock focus than pop. The vocal break begs for a live breakdown with claps and chanting before the song triumphantly comes back for its final chorus. “Waterworks” mixes exciting harmonies with singer focused verses for a song that mixes Tom Petty influences with some clever writing.

Piano comes to the forefront on “Beyond The Veil” where Montgomery goes for a more emotional focus with some interesting keyboard effects as well. The bridge gets very intimate going almost completely a cappella, although in its return does start to feel a tad repetitive. On “Don’t Want To Fall” the country twang is turned up for a slow-burning, contemplative down beat track. Alternatively with the dark lyrics and solemn delivery the verses end up outdoing the comparatively bland choruses.

There’s a distinct sense of emulating ZZ Top on “Jumped The Gun” with its distinctly distorted guitars and straightforward rock approach. On the same note however, despite a great bridge with an amazingly executed telephone call ending, the song does feel like a retread of the pop-rock of the early 80’s. Title-track “Leaving Eden” takes things a lot more seriously, with a dark piano ballad, with handfuls of religious allusions mixed with clever gender commentary. An extensive guitar solo extend the song to its five minute run time that by the end feels a little long despite showcasing Montgomery’s range.

Montgomery shifts to the 90’s on the PJ Harvey-infused “Go Mellow” that mixes a swampy bass line with guitar lines straight of an RHCP song. The song is a dark, psychedelic groove track with the most experimental sounds on the album making it the most interesting and stand out track. “Morning Glory” is a bright and bouncy track that tells a simple little love story with tangible enjoyment. The chorus lines are incredibly catchy, and the final vocal breakdowns end the song on a clever note.

Closing track “Music On The Side” is a powerful, and autobiographical track, that mixes elements of Big Star and Led Zeppelin for an epic rock ballad with the best vocal take of the entire album. The mix of guitars and bells make for a emotive pairing in this track that ends the album on a great final note.