Menace Beach - Ratworld (Memphis Industries)

Boundaries are there to be broken, most of the time

Released Jan 19th, 2015 via Memphis Industries / By Jack Doherty
Menace Beach - Ratworld (Memphis Industries) Menace Beach, the latest group to jump out of an oddly thriving Leeds scene, aren’t too concerned with the whole originality thing. Instead of stressing about all of that nonsense they have focused their energy on fine-tuning their drippy-droopy pop to perfection.

Everything on their debut album Ratworld has been done before. But when it’s executed this well, who cares. ‘Elastic’ and ‘Lowtalkin’ could quite easily be from the heyday of US indie rock, with their slogans and fuzzy hooks and whatnot. But hey, that stuff works just as well in 2015 as it did in 1985. Sometimes the past should be enjoyed rather than ridiculed.

But that’s not to say that the group are pretenders. ’Blue Eye’ takes us down a completely new avenue. Liza Violet’s soft cuddly vocals elevate the group above normality towards something altogether more, for want of a better word, wholesome. It’s the type of track you’d find in a Ryan Gosling film, in a scene where he mumbles something deep and meaningful to a beautiful woman. It’s pretty glorious stuff, really.

From here on the album really takes off. ‘Dig It Up’ oozes that winter warmth. The guitars scream out the theme tune to a frozen carnival. Each and every note bends from eardrum to eardrum, creating an the aural equivalent of a particularly bad Night Nurse hallucination. Man those trips can be wild.

However, Ratworld isn’t without it’s imperfections. ’Infinite Donut’ is a bit of a bore, which is disappointing, because the title is pretty darn ace. On paper, it should be as special as ’Blue Eye’, the ingredients are all the same, but for some reason it just doesn’t work a second time round. Maybe Gosling just doesn’t rate donuts.

It would be unfair to focus too much on this minor blip. Ratworld is a record to be savoured for what it is, rather than dissected for what it isn’t. And what it is, is a solid record of indie pop gems that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

There might just be a good reason for boundaries after all.