Menace Beach: Black Rainbow Sound (Memphis Industries)

Leeds’ garage experimentalists incorporate electronic approach on album number three

Released Aug 31st, 2018 via Memphis Industries / By Richard Lewis
With garage bands/indie rock outfits in abundance at present, Leeds’ outfit Menace Beach make a bold swerve away from the sound explored on last year’s impressive Lemon Memory with new set Black Rainbow Sound. Moving the guitars towards the back of the mix synthesizers, drum machines and loops move to the forefront, the vintage electronic sounds at times recalling NYC innovators Suicide, alongside Sheffield iconoclasts Cabaret Voltaire and Industrial Records eardrum manglers Throbbing Gristle.

Powered by the songwriting partnership of Liza Violet and Ryan Needham, Black Rainbow Sound retains the skewed approach of earlier material, the album at times sounding akin to mutant cabaret rock or Stereolab if someone had slopped lager over their Farfisa organ.

Opening with the absolute banger of a title track, the Brix Smith assisted cut is one of the best things the group have released. Things go awry with a glut of below-par tracks, as Satellite shoots for but fails to summon up a BJM-style groove and the queasily tuned keyboard overload Crawl In Love prove wearing.

Locating a halfway house between their indie rock roots and their new direction, Mutator is a alt. rock stomp that successfully glues the two elements together. The harmony vocals programmed percussion and Sonic Youth guitar scrawls of Holy Crow supplies one of the LPs most melodic moments prettily arranged synth pop of 8000 Molecules showcases the strength of Liza Violet’s vocals.

Hypnotiser Keeps the Ball Rolling backed with spooky theremin noises and schlock-horror organ chords glances off 1950s rockabilly via The Cramps while Watermelon is punchy, upbeat drone rock. (Like) Rainbow Juice weaves its way between tuneful/discordant with Brix Smith returning to add more spoken-word vocals.

An uneven but certainly intriguing set, Menace Beach’s willingness to journey away from the standard indie/garage rock template is laudable and Black Rainbow Sound is a largely successful reupholstering of the Leeds’ denizens sound. 6/10