Menace Beach – Ratworld (Album Review)

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Menace Beach are another one of these bands that are emerging with a passion for rock music of the 90s. This band happens to have an obsession with the era that brought us bands like Pavement as well as being influenced by Shoegaze bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Unlike a lot of the bands that have been emerging with this very same sound, Menace Beach do have a much better knack for song-writing putting together some accomplished songs every now and again.

Menace Beach have singers both male and female who definitely have a similar relationship to Francis Black and Kim Deal from Pixies in that the female vocalist Liza Violet uses her calm smooth vocals in contrast to the sometimes harsher vocals from Ryan Needham. They have a brilliant dynamic as they weave around each other from song to song sometimes pairing up at the same time to deliver one of their many explosive choruses. This is where Menace Beach’s talents lay, in their ability to make pop-esque songs that are still completely devoted to seeing how many bizarre reverb heavy sounds they can make from their guitars. Songs like ‘Tennis Court’ and the title track are brilliant slices where their pop sensibilities are shining through with melodies and vocal deliveries that are encapsulating and power chord choruses that are thunderously entertaining. Menace Beach don’t make any attempts to hide the fact that they’re blatantly part of this movement so heavily inspired by bands of the 90s, so they try to make the most of it by making songs that are blasts of pure energy and excitement. 

This doesn’t mean the band don’t fall into the trap every now and again that so many ‘Nu-gaze’ bands do where they think that their reverb pedals will simply do all of the talking for them. This is the case on the track ‘Blue Eye’ where they let themselves drown for 4 minutes in guitar effects and synthesisers – it’s made worse by the fact that it’s one of the more sentimental moments on the album, yet there’s no room for the sentimentality when you have guitar effects with nothing behind it playing endlessly. There are times when the more upbeat moments are drowned in the chaos that they love so much as the vocal fuzzes become ever so tiresome or overused.

Aside from the occasional over-usage of effects and the nostalgia aside, Menace Beach stand as one of the more blatantly exciting bands to emerge from this reassurance of 90s music. This record gives off the impression that they couldn’t give less of a shit about the criticisms surrounding it regarding its sound and influences. This is a record that for the most part, is filled with instant gratification taking you back to a time where manipulating your instruments sound made it feel like anything was possible.

7/10

Best Tracks: Tennis Courts, Ratworld, Come On Give Up

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