Vocal harmony trio Remember Monday burst onto the scene in 2018 with their debut song ‘Drive’ but it was their appearances on The Voice a year later that brought them to the national attention. They reached the quarter finals where they elected to, controversially, play an original song (‘Jailbreaker’) rather than a cover version.
School friends Holly-Anne Hull, Charlotte Steele and Lauren Byrne have been singing together for years. Both Holly and Lauren are West End sensations. Holly has performed in Les Mis and seems to have made the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera her own. Lauren, meanwhile, was Jane Seymour in Six and has had a great run as Miss Honey in Matilda: The Musical. That tells you something – these girls can really sing! Throw Charlotte’s vocals into the mix and you’ve got something really special going on.
New EP ‘Hysterical Women’ is a terrific achievement for Remember Monday. Part social manifesto, part EP, it’s full of massive harmonies and ambitious melodies that defy pigeonholing. They remind me of Queen in the way that conventions are tossed out of the window with gay abandon. There’s some huge Pop vibes in the mix, some Rock, some Blues and a smidgeon of Country but rather than worrying about ‘what’ Remember Monday are you need to concentrate on ‘what’ they have to say and go get your hairbrush microphone.
What Remember Monday have to say can be summarised in a line from ‘Jailbreaker’ when they sing, ‘Well behaved women ain’t gonna make history.’ This ethos runs through the middle of the EP like lettering through a stick of rock. We could also toss in ‘don’t wait for glass slippers but make glass ceilings shatter,’ from the same song. Each of the five songs on ‘Hysterical Women’ speak to the female experience. Sometimes the messages are about guys, sometimes about society and sometimes about how women treat other women too.
The EP begins with the title track, probably the best song Remember Monday have ever recorded. It’s a scathing attack on those type of guys who leave a ‘string of broken hearts behind’ them. They refuse to reflect on their own behaviours, preferring instead to preach the narrative that the women were hysterical. You know these types of guys, we all know at least one. Arrogant. Manipulative. Oblivious. Well, time’s up fellas.
Clever rhymes, like pairing ‘hypothetical’ with ‘hysterical’ or ‘genius’ with ‘Venus’ give a real gravitas to the words whilst the drums, finger snaps and outrageous harmonies drive the musical part of the song forward in some style. It reminds me of Queen in it’s grandiose ambitions and it will leave you with a great big smile on your face by the end. You’ll also be reaching for your phone to delete a couple of numbers from your contacts list.
Similarly, ‘Nothing Nice to Say’ and ‘Let Down’ follow in a similar vein. The former begins with some outstanding a cappella harmonies before it settles into a really slick, smooth Pop/Rock number. It’s also a little Country around the edges. ‘Time’s up, if you’ve got nothing left to say,’ is the vibe here. It’s another melodic yet scathing look at how women are treated. There’s some messages for men, some messages for society and if you watch the excellent video that accompanies this song, some messages about how women treat other women too.
Empowering, emotional and effortlessly melodic, ‘Nothing Left to Say’ has both that wonderful mix of meaning and melody that all songwriters search for. ‘Let Down’, meanwhile, builds to a vibrant chorus driven, again, by drums and huge harmonies as these confident songwriters weave another tale of empowerment and strength. ‘If you ain’t all in then I’m not gonna wait around,’ they sing. It finishes with one of the trio saying, ‘smashed it,’ and they’re not wrong there!
‘Jailbreaker’, the song that Remember Monday sang on The Voice, comes with a huge slice of strength and some fantastic dirty guitars. The trio’s vocals are mixed high here, like an instrument all of their own, as they sing about confidence and empowerment. It’s loud, proud and full of ‘singing in the shower’ fire.
The most complex and intriguing song on ‘Hysterical Women’ is ‘Where to Start’. This is where the trio let their West End influences run riot for a while. It’s a gentle, lilting number with a hint of bands like The Corrs to it. Dealing with your own inner happiness and contentment as you emerge form a toxic relationship, ‘Where to Start’ feels like it was plucked directly out of productions like Phantom or Les Mis in terms of the storytelling and the structure of the song. Some soaring harmonies at the end leave this song one of the highlights on the EP and gives the trio something to think about as their songwriting progresses in the future.
By the end of ‘Hysterical Women’ you are left wanting more, which is something all good albums and EPs should aspire to do. The five songs here all fit into the same concept and narrative, so does that make it a ‘concept’ EP? Who cares! Who cares ‘what’ Remember Monday are, you just need to know that something special happens when these three talented women write and sing together.
There are harmonies popping off all over the place on songs that make you think and feel and the end result is one of joy. ‘Hysterical Women’ is a tremendous achievement and one that deserves to reach as big an audience as possible because the Radio 2 crowd would connect with both the messages and and the harmonies on offer here in a big way.
Tracklist: 1. Hysterical Women 2. Nothing Nice to Say 3. Where to Start 4. Let Down 5. Jailbreaker Record Label: Self produced Release Date: February 3rd Buy ‘Hysterical Women’ now