Menace Beach Hands You Lemon Memory
This week is full of fantastic new releases and reissues. One of those is from Menace Beach. The 10 track burner combines surfy riffs with noisy undercurrents for music that can simultaneously start a weekend night off right or set the mood to stay in and relax. Aesthetically, Lemon Memory bounces between grimy guitar work and incredibly catchy vocal hooks for a feel that doesn’t quite find a foot to plant–something Menace Beach has been working toward since their debut, Rat World.
The album begins with the track “Give Blood.” On the surface, the song seems to be par the course for the English surf rockers. Though “Give Blood” uses vocal pauses and disjointed lyrics to highlight and counterpoint the rhythm lines running through the song. “Give Blood” sounds as fresh as it does rooted to late 90s version of indie rock. Ending with a noise-laced solo, the song sets the standard for the rest of Lemon Memory.
For listeners who want a well defined arc to the albums they throw on their turntable, Lemon Memory might not be the album for them; it stays within the same orbit from start to finish. But the ability for Menace Beach to surprise their listeners constantly as they coil into their sound is second to none. What Lemon Memory lacks in progression, it certainly makes up for in catchy riffs and vocal melodies.
The album is its most catchy often at its heaviest. And one of the heaviest tracks of Lemon Memory is “Can’t Get a Haircut.” Equal parts Together Pangea, Wavves, and Wytches, the song churns feedback into dark surf. “Can’t Get a Haircut” roils like Black Sabbath rocking out on the beach, a tone that very much refreshes the tropes of the current surf rock revival.
Menace Beach hasn’t taken any giant steps moving from Rat World to Lemon Memory. Instead, the band seems to have made it a point to focus their energies on perfecting the sound the presented in this album and in their first EP. The result is an album that sounds more mature, more realized than their previous attempts. Lemon Memory still bubbles with angst and passion, but its woolliest moments have direction and work together to create an album that is more than its individual songs.
Ending with an almost six minute epic, “Hexbreaker II,” Lemon Memory begs its listeners to flip it and start again. Slowly the pacing to a crawl, “Hexbreaker II” shows a band who is as comfortable swirling in eddies of textural atmospherics and ethereal vocals as it is rocking down a three chord riff. “Hexbreaker II” is a slow boil, but one that continually pays off. If you’re looking for some noisy surf rock, look no further than Menace Beach’s Lemon Memory.