2015 was a non-stop year for Leeds based fuzz-popsters Menace Beach. They started off the year by releasing their debut album which was swiftly followed by an EP, both of which were interspersed with a shit load of touring. I’m pretty sure I managed to catch them play live at least once a month. 2016 was a quieter year on the live front, but never to be ones to settle down, the band’s core members Ryan and Liza retreated to Ibiza to begin writing. Shortly after their return, they gathered the rest of their merry-men and headed to Sheffield to record this here second full length, ‘Lemon Memory‘.
Lemon Memory still possesses all the indie-pop charm of it’s predecessor, but with a focus on tripped out sonic’s and psych-inspired wig-outs, seeing Menace Beach embracing their eccentricities. The band have said that, when making the album, they kept in mind the idea that sometimes doing the opposite is much more interesting. With this, the band take their perfect pop formulas and flip them on their heads.
Opening track ‘Give Blood‘ has two false starts before ripping into it’s hypnotic garage-rock groove as Ryan repeats the snarled refrain of “Why do you always sing about death?“. They’re still writing hook heavy pop music, but they’ve let go of the conventional pop song structure and have written a set that thinks outside the box as its platoon of hooks take the time to soak into your skin. Tracks like ‘Maybe We’ll Drown‘ and ‘Suck It Out‘ are prime examples of this new wonky sound; both simple in their delivery, but listen closely and all matter of weird, twisted sonic’s distantly swirl in your ears. Although it may be considered a bit more experimental, they have the knack of fitting in nice little ear worms to snuggle into your brain.
There is certainly a more psychedelic feel to these songs and Ross Orton’s production compliments the bands admiration of this with some pretty mind bending mixes. ‘Can’t Get A Haircut‘ is a bit of a centerpiece here; it’s got this head banging, stoner-rock vibe to it, but instead of having this chunky, cymbal crashing drum sound, the cymbals are almost completely erased, leaving you with this sharp, crisp kick/snare pattern over the top of this gnarly, spiky guitar riff that just sounds super angular and trippy as owt! Then you have tracks like ‘Owl‘, which is a weird space age garage tune in the verses, that oozes into luscious 80’s synth choruses with Liza sweetly and angelically crooning over top. It kind of sounds like they went a bit mad making this record, which is what gives it such character and bombast than previous releases.
Like their debut, Menace Beach have made an album with a variety of different sounds that stem from different influences, but this time use structure and production to fuck things up a bit. In short, Menace Beach are heading for the party on the moon and they’re taking us all with em!