(Memphis Industries, out Fri 31 Aug)
After a reasonably long wait from their last material in early 2017, Leeds based Menace Beach return with their new album Black Rainbow Sound. With some added maturity, the band have developed their lo-fi sound into an album that should please any indie music fan.
The opening title track contains everything that makes Menace Beach: fuzzy bass, punchy guitars, woozy vocals. The song is a trip that would envelop a listener either live or via headphones. Satellite is when things start to change. A departure from their regular sound, this track relies heavily on dissonance. Here Liza Violet’s vocals manage to be both unsettling in places and comforting in others. It could be a Desire track as much as Menace Beach.
Tracks like Crawl In Love, Tongue and Mutator really emphasise this new sound. The band keep their grunge aesthetic whilst flirting between more heavy lo-fi sounds and softer electronic melodies. 8000 Molecules, for example, is a great track for showing the band’s growth, it has the underlying Menace Beach sound, but a Johnny Jewel-esque sound on top thanks to Violet’s dreamy vocals and the electronic melodies.
There’s a decent mix of tracks in the album. Softer tracks like Holy Crow allow for relaxing before heavier tracks like Watermelon, a standout that is guaranteed to get people moving at any gig. The album ends with (Like) Rainbow Juice which ramps up the newer sound almost to an experimental level. This is to the detriment of the melody and possibly would have worked better earlier in the album. Instead, such a track brings things to an anticlimax.
Considering their live absence Menace Beach have delivered an engaging new album. They retain their aesthetic and bring a new sound that they suit well.