I have never been one to blindly follow the lead of celebrities; just because they are who they are. Acting and singing abilities do not necessarily make people experts on politics, relationships or any other life situation, anymore than the average, non-famous person. Quite often, the opposite is true and we have uninformed pop stars being trailed by fans who cling unquestioningly to their every word.
Conversely, there are situations in which musicians I admire give a nod of approval to other bands I have not heard. As I look into these bands, with blinders off of course, I often (but not always) find new music to enjoy.
Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is one such musician whose suggestions are more often than not, a harbinger of musical cool (Howler, Mimicking Birds, Palma Violets). He got it right again with the championing of Menace Beach.
With this 5-song EP, the Leeds band paint aural Polaroids of carefree youth. There is an element of sunny-day-pop, be it in the music or the vocals, that is consistently present over darker textures. Instrumental sounds run the gamut of lo-fi grunge, psych, and noise pop. There is effortless kitsch present in all of these songs which gives off a sense of honesty that comes during those few years where you are old enough to have a sense of the world, yet still young enough to not be too jaded.
“Super Transporterreum,” the record’s lead single, brings forth a fuzz guitar with tuneful vocals from late-nineties college radio. The song title, which serves as a chorus, is repeated as if from space. Girl-guy alternating vocals (used throughout most of the EP) work well here with Liza Violet’s laid back quality off-setting Ryan Needham’s raucous vocal delivery.
“The Line” gives off vocal stylings reminiscent of notable power pop bands such as The Raspberries and Teenage Fanclub . The menacing ‘alt rock’ guitar riff that begins and ends the songs makes way for a vaguely, albeit off kilter, 1950s doo-wop guitar sound, mid solo. “Ghoul Power” starts with a guitar that leaves the listener expecting Kurt Cobain to come in at any time. The unexpected, playful unisex vocals and cheerleader-style shouts advice the listener to take out the “ghoul” kept in one’s pocket to ward off bad situations.
Menace Beach have created their own eclectic universe. In it, sand and sun exist within a world of darkness and slightly druggy dreams. This is punk-infused rock at its core married with pop sensibilities and the band’s penchant for raw, at times vintage sounding guitars. While holding up well now, it’s also a nostalgic delight for those who harbor an affinity for college/alternative rock from the nineties as well as sixties garage rock.
Top Tracks: The Line, Ghoul Power
Menace Beach Supertransporterreum EP Review / 2015 Memphis Industries / 5 tracks / http://www.memphis-industries.com/artist/menace-beach/