WE REVIEW THE LATEST SINGLE FROM HENSHAW – PLASTIC IN A FLAME
An eeriness pervades ‘Plastic in a Flame’. The opening tremolo guitars and the occasional backward-played instrumentation are sinister. Guitar tones are grittier than most too, and that’s only the opening.
HENSHAW is a project spearheaded by Paul Henshaw. The Cambridge musician tours voraciously for good reason. Take 2022’s Nobody Cares, Work Harder, a folk-rock album in Frank Turner’s Lane, the perfect kind to take on the road.
Recently, however, his influences are rockier. ‘Plastic in a Flame’ reminds of Placebo and, to Henshaw’s admission, Radiohead.
It’s a song of two halves. The first is ominous without being portentous. It foreshadows what’s to come without immediate predictability. The vocals sound weary but resolute while forebodingly dissonant guitar passages are stretched and distorted.
The midway point sees the song’s demeanour shift from moody crooning to destructive instigator. Henshaw’s voice bellows and the guitars roar. This rampant acceleration towards the song’s climax – a frenetic and cataclysmic guitar solo – is urgent, as if instruments are melting while being played.
The explosion is reliant on volume. It’s a sudden change that shocks, but Henshaw refines things so as not to irk, which exemplifies what makes ‘Plastic in a Flame’ successful. Behind its monstrousness is an invisible calculation and consideration that contributes towards this exciting and epic grandeur.