Release Date: Jan 13, 2014
Record label: Memphis Industries
Genre(s): Indie/Alternative, Indie Rock
It’s January, the festivities are over, and all we’ve got to look forward to is the crap weather and our mundane jobs. It’s the perfect time of year for a little escapism, and Menace Beach have thoughtfully provided an injection of the sunshine that their almost-namesake is famous for. The Leeds-based band are an indie supergroup of sorts, with core members Ryan Needham and Liza Violet joined by a revolving cast of musicians from bands such as Sky Larkin, Pulled Apart By Horses, Hookworms and You Animals.
Leeds’ Menace Beach share their name with a shonky early ’90s Nintendo game. Band moniker-related developments of recent years (see also: Ducktails, Peak Twins) mean this now implies gormless nostalgia, smarmy irony and, in a nutshell, chillwave. Happily, ‘Lowtalker’ – five songs, 14 minutes – is a bit smarter, and better, than that.
So Menace Beach are a ‘supergroup’ according to the internet’s music media; the very word conjuring up images of self-awareness-deficient musicians attempting to out-solo each other having abandoned the concept of reality, probably with the help of Flea. In that sense it could definitely be argued that Menace Beach are the most refreshingly unassuming supergroup, perhaps ever; the original duo of Ryan Needham and Liza Webster have wisely surrounded themselves with the able bodies of MJ (Hookworms), Nestor Matthews (Sky Larkin), and Robert Lee (Pulled Apart By Horses). We’re also told that Mansun’s Paul Draper couldn’t resist dropping in to throw his ten cents into the EP.
To record ‘Lowtalker’, Menace Beach spent four days at MJ’s (Hookworms) Suburban Home Studios, digesting pizza, coffee and falafel to fuelling a rapid recording session. The group features members of Sky Larkin, Hookworms and You Animals as well as Mansun vocalist Paul Draper, who contributes vocals and guitars on some tracks. Honing in on the 90s-influenced rock that debut EP ‘Dream Out’ and last year’s Too Pure double A-side ‘Dropouts / Tastes Like Medicine’ provided, the group refresh their relative infancy with five tracks “getting better, making friends and trying to reconnect mentally and spiritually”The result is a composed collection of tracks, with founders Liza Violet and Ryan Needham a perfect foil for each other with their bleary and bratty vocals coming to the fore on tracks like ‘Fortune Teller’ and ‘Where I Come From’.