Posted on December 30th, 2014 (4:00 pm) by Nick Manai

Menace Beach rifles through a wide array of influences on their proper debut album, Ratworld, out January 19, but no matter what the figuration, the foundation of Liza Violet’s dreamy whisper and Ryan Needham’s nervous pitch provide a steadying hand, disambiguation, and a sorely needed sense of recognition. Whether it be the clean indie riff of the opening track, “Come On Give Up,” or the shoe-gaze sludge of “Fortune Teller,” Menance Beach never lets their influences run away with the show, for better, and for worse.

The before mentioned opening track, "Come On Give Up," is abuzz with garage squeals and fidgety verses that recall the first sounds we heard from Girls, the duel indie-pop boy/girl vocals of Swearin', and the starry eyed dreams of Guided By Voices. To say that you haven’t heard this kind of song a hundred (a thousand?) times before would be a lie, but Menance Beach seems to know this already and quickly discards its genre formality in search of the next picture for their collage.

“Blue Eyes” is a startling departure from the garage ethos that came before, pulling a page out of My Bloody Valentine's playbook, layering their slowest incantation to loss and love with a wall of shifting guitar hiss, and even a momentous disjointed solo. “Tennis Court” recalls Violet’s schoolyard melodic rings, but builds Velvet Underground rock and roll chords on top of it, before spiraling out into a garage style head banger in the vein of Ty Segall.

However, Menance Beach is not as ambitious as this endless reinvention might sound. Nowhere on Ratworld do they really feel obligated to fully invest in the styles they are riffing, and instead relax into their vocal turns, perhaps to bolster the surrounding arrangements. It is a trick that is both comforting and dizzying. Once Menance Beach has grabbed your attention, they’ll lose it, and once they’ve won it, they’ll throw it right back at you.

It could be a meaningful analogy to the nature of music these days. Endless possibilities, little to zero attention spans, and an overall willingness to mash up whatever's next to that other thing. However, we'll give Menance Beach a little more credit than that. Never do their songs sound unpracticed, even when you want them to drop the construction and just dance on top of the rubble.

Track List:

  1. Come On Give Up
  2. Elastic
  3. Drop Outs
  4. Lowtalkin
  5. Blue Eyes
  6. Dig It Up
  7. Tennis Court
  8. Ratworld
  9. Tastes Like Medicine
  10. Pick Out The Pieces
  11. Infinite Doubt
  12. Fortune Teller
Menace Beach - Ratworld Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

74 / 100
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