Album review: Menace Beach – Lemon Memory
11:06 07 February 2017
A bag of fuzzy, grungy fun that leaves Menace Beach pointing in the right direction
Leeds based duo Liza Violet and Ryan Needham scarpered to sunny Ibiza to write the follow-up to 2015’s Ratworld, escaping said infestations of rodent and concocting a 10-track citrus-riposte to their ‘cursed’ northern home.
A milder development in sound than you might think after some time out on the White Island, Lemon Memory is a collection of poppy hooks pulled through spit-flecked feedback and dreamy drone, topped with Violet’s engaging soft lilt and Needham’s plaintive, pallid drawl.
They’re not reinventing the wheel – Give Blood’s false starts whet the appetite for an unreconstructed dive into the sweaty, grungy alt-rock moshpit – but the duo do have a few catchy riffs up their sleeve, and a smattering of shoegaze and psych-rock to cast minds back to early-‘90s alt-rock.
Violet is at her most engaging and centre stage in the brilliantly creepy motorik and sweetly-sung conceit of Maybe We’ll Drown while Sentimental completes a strong opening salvo, combining gutsy guitar riffs and thumping drums with short, catchy vocal motifs.
This is Menace Beach’s strong suit, but their slower, sludgier moments can also impress – Can’t Get A Haircut carves a pop groove out of some of the grimiest riffs since Royal Blood, while Needham leads the title track through throngs of woozy analogue keys and clipped guitar strokes.
It’s an enjoyable ride, with Suck It Out’s explosive chorus the sound of a band having a whole lotta fun without caring for little niggles like originality.
The final third loses momentum and pep, with Owl sauntering along in world of layered, gauzy vocals and jittering guitar hook until it’s abruptly put down. Watch Me Boil and Hexbreaker II aim for epic drone rock but barely raise the pulse either, but there’s still enough about these two that would stop a betting man from writing them off just yet.