Blue Monday – S/T

I don’t know much about Blue Monday, as I must have lost the press sheet that came with it. But fans of acoustic guitar and lovely female harmonies are going to enjoy this album. What you get here is Melissa from the band Firesign on guitar and vocals and Erin doing vocals. That’s it, for every song, just one guitar and both singers. And it works.
Sometimes, you need a dose of straight-forward acoustic rock. But this isn’t your folk-influenced stuff. Rather, these two women are playing simplistic, bare-bones rock with a focus on pretty guitar lines and lots of vocal harmonies. Think the Indigo Girls if they rocked harder or Jen Woods turning up the intensity a notch. The vocals, while not always sweet and pretty, work together perfectly, reminding me at times of The Muffs, at times of The Murmurs.
“Losing My Mind” will hook you right at the start of the album. What’s amazing about this and most of the songs on here is the intensity that these two singers manage to create just singing their hearts out. “I got fucked over once again,” the two belt out on “Empty Box,” which showcases how prettily they can sing and how harsh and brutal they can sing. “Washington” is a much more melodic and lovely song with a nice, subtle flow. “Troy Diar” is my favorite song here, mostly because the vocals are incredible and powerful, and the guitar is very intense while tending to be sort of background on most of the other songs. “The Darkest Part” has a very bitter, almost breathless feel to it. “And I don’t understand this pain,” they sing on the more depressing “Leave Me Alone,” which adds some violin for a nice effect. And “Song for Friend” finishes things off somewhat sweetly and less bitter, a bit more of a meaningful and direct song.
I only wish Blue Monday included the lyrics with this release, because this is really the kind of music you want to sing along with and try to match their melodies. It’s not too loud, too aggressive, too anything. It’s simple yet completely effective, powerful without being overwhelming. Two girls and an acoustic guitar. Great stuff.
And just as a side note, if you haven’t heard of Paroxysm Records, you should check out this Washington label. I guarantee out of this host of bands you haven’t heard of, you’re going to find at least a few that will impress you.