Memphis Industries are off to an exciting start to 2015, new albums on the way from the Go! Team and Dutch Uncles will draw plenty of deserved attention to the label. First things first, the release of Ratworld, the debut album by Menace Beach, is likely to be up there with anything else the label has in the pipeline. Fans of the band will already be very familiar with a hefty chunk of this album from previous singles and EPs as well as the tracks shared digitally in the build up to the album release.
Menace Beach thrive in a sludge of heavily 90s alternative influenced noise, you can easily name all the usual suspects for yourself. Verses often break away to rocking choruses. Songs start and end with a squeal of feedback. All so-far-so-whatever but it’s all put together with an enthusiasm that will win them a lot of fans. Opening track ‘Come On Give Up’ is typical of much of the album, catchy, jangly and satisfyingly crunchy in the right places. Previous single ‘Lowtalkin’ is a two minute blast, the title yelled over and over breathlessly, giving the track a wonderful urgency.
When the pace does change it changes completely. ‘Blue Eye’ hovers introspectively, a wallflower amongst the other songs, anxiously wondering if it’s in the right place. It most certainly is. It’s a beautiful track, all melting vocals and slowly pulsing guitars. The Slowdive-esque squall of ‘Pick Out the Pieces’ is the only other track on the album that’s slow paced, it’s dual vocals working particularly well at a lesser tempo.
They do place their own signature over their influences on several songs with their keyboards, never better than on closing track ‘Fortune Teller’. The organ twists and turns creating an almost eerie ambience whilst the guitars crash along mid-tempo. It’s a brilliant way to close out the album.
There’s not an enourmous amount of variation between tracks on this album which would be a criticism if it wasn’t all put together so soundly. Where this album wins is through frenetic energy. It’s blanketed in tunes and harmonies, guitars trip all over the place, vocals playfully jump around, stretching for the high notes in the big choruses, moulding together with great harmonies and soothingly whispering when necessary. It’s all coated with just the right amount of fuzz to give it a bit of an edge but never loses its easy accessability. It’ll be interesting to see how Menace Beach progress from here, songs like ‘Blue Eye’ indicate there are promising alternatives to come but I’ll think about that later. For just now it’s easily enough to just sail along on the Ratworld rollercoaster, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
Ratworld by Menace Beach is released on 19th Jan by Memphis Industries. Buy it here.