22 Jan 2015

Menace Beach / Ratworld (album review)

2014 was the year of stunning debut albums and with the arrival of Menace Beach’s debut LP,  it seems that 2015 may follow in the footsteps. 

Produced by none other that MJ from Hookworms, this surprisingly short 33 minute long masterpiece draws on influences from just about everywhere. It’s chaotic yet melodic and the array of different genres they have managed to pull into one album is not only impressive but it falls together perfectly to make a fantastic compilation. You can tell that one of their primary influences has been the MJ’s work in Hookworms, as some of the more shoegazey sections in their songs are dripping in fuzzy reverb and feedback, yet still they manage a completely unique sound. 

The album opens with a new take on brit-pop, with possibly their most dance-y song to date, Come On, Give Up. This flows perfectly into the first incarnation of chaos, with Elastic sounding like the 90’s embodied in one single song. Drop Outs comes next, and this is when the HW influences really hit in. The FX pedals come out to play and suddenly you realise just how talented this band are. It’s indie-pop music meets shoegaze and my god does it work well. Lowtalkin’ is 1:44 of speed-rock, punk mayhem. It’s eccentric, unpolished and loud, but it pretty much embodies everything Menace Beach are about before throwing you into another new area of a hazy dream with Blue Eye, which somehow manages to sound whimsical despite being sung over heavy guitar reverb. This leads perfectly into Dig It Up, which is nothing short of two minutes of hypnotic shoegaze preeminence. Full of riffs and FX, it’s the point on the album that made me incredibly aware of the stunning diversity of Menace Beach. 

Tennis Court is full of wobbly chords, attitude, fuzz and oh-so-catchy melodies. It personifies the chilled out, effortlessly cool vibe, when it reality, it’s an incredibly tight pop song. Next comes the title track, Ratworld. This is probably the strongest track on the album. It’s 90’s, it’s slacker rock. And it’s what Menace Beach do best. Definitely a stand out, definitely a track worth showing off. Tastes Like Medicine is a shamelessly fun indie pop track and Pass Out The Pieces takes you back to the Menace Beach dream land.The final two songs on the album are Menace Beach’s chance to show off, and they took that chance and ran with it. Infinite Donut is a mere 2 minutes long, but it’s jam-packed with heavy beats, heavy riffs and catchy melodies. The album comes to a close 4 minutes later, after the psychedelic daydream that is Fortune Teller. 

Overall, this album is effortlessly cool and for a bunch of supposed slackers, it's up there with the best of the best for debut albums. Seriously impressive.

Rating : 17/20