Menace Beach - Ratworld - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Menace Beach - Ratworld

by Brian Lange. Rating:8 Release Date:2015-01-19

Never in a million years would an unknowing ear guess that Menace Beach is not in fact a band from California, but from Leeds! “What does that even mean?” you ask?  Maybe it’s because they have the word ‘beach’ in their name, but one can’t help but feel like a carefree misanthrope during lazy summer days playing volleyball in the sand, surfing some waves, eating pizza and drinking Coke.

This group may look the part of a basement-garageband toting hipster Brooklyn co-op that we all scoff at (but secretly like), but they are anything but typical. Mirroring any number of bands such as Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, and Sleater-Kinney, core members Ryan Needham and Liza Violet (formerly the lead singer of Derby band Komakino and Department M, respectively) have a back-up ensemble that, while rotating, include Nestor Matthews of Sky Larkin, Matt Spalding of You Animals, and MJ of Hookworms. Because of this, they are sometimes considered a supergroup and listening to their debut LP, Ratworld, one can see why. 

A mixture of alt-rock, grunge, shoegaze and indie, one might conclude that this band would have been at the epicenter of the grunge movement that sky-rocketed out of Seattle in the early 90s.  Voices are wailing, but not obnoxiously. The guitars have a pleasant level of light Fender distortion in tune with bands of the grunge ilkage, power-chords and all. It is refreshing and rather unique that both Ryan and Liza sing prominently on the record. Their voices compliment each other beautifully, making this a 'feel-good' listen.

Incidentally, there was also an 8-bit Nintendo game entitled Meanace Beach. In this game, one controls a skateboarding hero whose girlfriend, Bunny, has been kidnapped. One must use his skateboard and any objects they find, such as balloons, frogs, bombs and bottles, to defeat ninja, clowns and disgruntled dock workers before finally confronting the villainous Demon Dan. Between each level, Bunny’s clothes slowly disappear, eventually leaving her in nothing but a bra and panties. 

Coincidence? I think not.

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