Boasting members from other bands such as Hookworms, Pulled Apart By Horses and Sky Larkin, it’s very hard to disagree with those who dub Menace Beach as something of a supergroup. This status obviously brings with it a heavy weight of expectation surrounding their debut full-length release, Ratworld, which follows a series of EPs and singles, however it certainly does not disappoint.
It’s clear to see MJ of Hookworms’ influence on tracks such as ‘Dig It Up’ and ‘Lowtalkin’’, which almost engulf you in a barrage of sound. Haunting synths ring out competing with blistering distortion, which works outrageously well throughout the entire album. But out of this barrage comes the triumphantly atmospheric ‘Blue Eye’, the album’s longest track, weighing in at 3:54, in which Liza Violet’s eerily sweet vocals reach out to further ingrain Menace Beach’s distinctive sound into your consciousness.
However, the most impressive aspect of Ratworld are the subtleties of a range of genres it wields through the entire release. Tinges of surf rock can be noticed in tracks such as ‘Tastes Like Medicine’, whilst Liza Violet and Ryan Needham’s male/female harmonies, accompanied by a truly infectious riff give ‘Elastic’ a more sophisticated garage-rock feel.
It’s rare that an album containing twelve tracks can possess such drive and consistency across the board, yet Menace Beach manages it with apparent ease. To put it frankly (this is definitely meant as a compliment) Ratworld is the kind of album you would want playing you out if you ever found yourself drowning in a swamp, submerged deep in murky waters with nothing but glistening vocals countered with an impenetrable wall of fuzz to help you.