Menace Beach – ha ha – are a Leeds-based five-piece band whose music takes in everything from bratty, whiny early Dinosaur Jr. grunge, garage organ rock and beautiful astral harmonising of a fashion that shows Stereolab’s patent must have now expired. The album saw them working with guitarist MJ from current vogue unit Hookworms to realise their particular brand of fuzzy, distortion-laden euphoria.
The songs on ‘Ratworld’ are built around the songwriting partnership of Liza Violet and Ryan Needham, a pair clearly in thrall to the likes of My Bloody Valentine but also more than happy to work the poppier end of the spectrum – ‘Infinite Donut’, ‘Drop Outs’ and ‘Elastic’ all have future anthems running through their scuzzy veins – and with few exceptions this is an energetic, fun trip full of instant gratification, urgent pleasures, big riffs and effortless choruses.
The speed-rock splendour of ‘Lowtalkin’’ put to one side, the band’s career prospects and longevity probably lie in the strained emotional hypnotism of the more muted, more self-conscious moments: ‘Blue Eye’ (below) and ‘Fortune Teller’ are songs so full of powerfully simplistic melodies and dark, brooding sensitivity that they make the other songs here sound like kids mucking about in the sandbox.
Words: Mat Smith
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