Menace Beach – Lowtalker (Memphis Industries)

Leeds-based duo risk emotional breakdown amongst other ailments to finally release their first EP on Memphis

Released Jan 13th, 2014 via Memphis Industries / By Clementine Lloyd
Menace Beach – Lowtalker (Memphis Industries) Residing with Brit label Memphis Industries, a roof over the heads of notable indie hipsters, dancey tunesters and dedicated musicians from all over, Menace Beach are newbies to their list of risers. As their first EP housed within the label, they have a charm that is obvious and yet tentative. The ambling duo of Ryan Needham and Liza Webster have had a turbulent few years it seems, but profess the outpouring of this new record comes from a good place, albeit spat out of their minds through bouts of all-nighters with a "revolving cast of local musicians" in their new home of Leeds.

Middle track 'Where I Come From' hosts a fiery and energetic vocal cacophony, and some beautifully swirling synths, but it is lyrics "Where I come from we see how we want to feel. Where I come from all we ever wanted was something unreal" that really state their case. It’s upbeat and somehow channels some of the uncertainty in their actions. The psychedelic elements of their android keys and lilting strings are innocent and sweet with the moments of discordancy in their vocals lending a garage band style.

This is a common theme. Opener 'Fortune Teller' stretches like a wheezing mixtape on its last spin, all bubbling synth and elongated riffs. The bridge starts to sound crisp through its incisive vocals, before collapsing into a muddy chorus. It’s a perfect headphones moment. 'Nervous' is more headstrong in its drum loops, holding court to waspish riffs and squeaked vocals from Webster. Needham's central vocals swagger over the top, but with a charming hint of self-doubt.

'Honolulu', this is a tricky one. Rooted in its thunderous bass notes, squealing reels and the duo’s overlapped vocals, you would assume this to be the track Robert Lee, of Pulled Apart By Horses fame , has lent his skills to - a bit metal with a punk rinse. Closer 'Cheerleader' is a little more nineties lo-fi in its slower delivery, Needham pulling out the higher vocals, awash with the custom fuzz, as the duo breathes out sustained riffs. The melody is gorgeous, heightened by the friction between synth and strings.

It’s little wonder that this resultant record has a soft centre twinned with a hard edge. Given its birth in turmoil, their new Leeds home, and their revolving music crew, it presents hardship and struggle, but underpinned by the desire to push forward and never give up. The crackles and discord hold past, present and future. The melodies insert good times and things coming together. It is a slow burner from the off, but then that seems to be what these guys are about.