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A review of...

Ratworld by Menace Beach

Ratworld
Date: 
January 19, 2015
Writer: 
Adam Millard
7.5

The gist

Highly anticipated debut from Leeds 5 piece, out on Memphis Industries

The Music

Menace Beach are a band of contrast. A kind of good cop-bad cop group led by Ryan Needham (bad cop) armed with his brash distorted ramblings and Liza Violet (good cop) with her angelic, otherworldly vocals and atmospheric keyboards. It's a mix which levitates Menace Beach somewhere outside the shoegaze genre, into which some have been keen to bracket them. Their debut album manages to cram in slacker rock ("Drop Outs"), grunge ("Ratworld") and even a bit of surf-pop ("Infinite Donut"). A duo at heart, Menace Beach are now joined by Matt Spalding (bass), Nestor Matthews (drums) and MJ from Hookworms on guitar and production duties. It's a linenup which beefs up their sound without shaving the edges off, thus they avoid the common pitfall of over-expanding lineups (see The Cribs, Jack White etc for notes on how not to grow a band). Ratworld is a crackly, noisy record at heart but one that's punctured by soothing calm with the band never stepping too far outside their remit of writing simple catchy songs.

Listen to

"Drop Outs" - An alt-pop gem underpinned by a wonky keyboard hook and a verse which is played relatively straight to form an uneven yet ear-pricking album high-point.

"Blue Eye" - Liza Violet's star turn, and she seems to be playing a friendly ghost singing on top of some electrical interference. Possibly through a TV set, like on Poltergeist.

"Dig It Up" - stops "Blue Eye" in its tracks with a blast of feedback and dives headlong straight into a swirling, grungey mammoth of a tune.

Listen if... you like Weezer, Sonic Youth, Pavement, the poppier side of MBV