A collaboration between Ryan, Liza and Matt from Derby’s You Animals and Nestor from Sky Larkin, Menace Beach is a band that the term scuzzy pop sums up perfectly. Their debut EP was released as a limited edition cassette (hand screen printed, no less) on the French label Desire Records and captures the spirit of the scuzziest US indie, while also mixing it with the atmospherics of some of Britpop’s more challenging bands like Mansun and Suede.
The EP was ‘written over a summer of endless bleary-eyed bouts of insomnia’ and this haunting and dreamlike-state is clearly apparent on the opening ‘Dream Out’, a song that brings to mind the addled genius of Deerhunter with an absorbing guitar line straight off, along with plenty of distortion in the vocals to really prick your ears. It’s a short song, as they all are on this EP, and definitely has a DIY feel but this is no bad thing. ‘Teenage Jesus’ opens with a perfectly pitched scream of the title and will recall the likes of the Dandy Warhols or possibly even Desaparecidos, with its mixture of hollering drums and piercing riffs.
‘Wake Up’ is the poppiest track on the EP by far and does sound like a You Animals song, but only if the band had stepped straight into the studio after a heavy night’s session and with no sleep whatsoever. The result is really quite something. The kind of song that you’ll keep going back to, it’s the highlight on the EP and shows a band as willing to embrace melody as they are dirty, psychedelia. The closing ‘Burn Out’ continues this energetic punky blast and absorbs the spirit of Johnny Foreigner, before mixing it with a healthy dose of J. Mascis. Menace Beach may have a threatening name, but there’s nothing to be scared of, this is an EP to embrace.
Listen to ‘Wake Up’ here: