ALBUM REVIEW: Menace Beach – Ratworld | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 12.01.15


Sometimes predictability isn’t a negative trait. Take a straw poll of music fans and ask them what they’d expect an album called Ratworld by a band called Menace Beach to sound like without even playing them a note, and there’s a good chance that your responses might be peppered with words like ‘scuzzy’, ‘noisy’ and ‘heavy’. Well, our theoretical and narratively convenient interlocutors would be bang on the money, because all of these adjectives can be fittingly applied here.

Don’t be fooled though, Ratworld is so much more than just a nice satisfying slab of noise. It’s also a devilishly moreish collection of songs, effortlessly executed by a band who are clearly already masters of their craft. Where many would take baby steps on their debut album, scared to screw up or misrepresent themselves, the Leeds-based five-piece are striding confidently out in the world armed with the knowledge that they know exactly what they’re doing.

Perhaps Ratworld’s assurance won’t be a massive surprise when you learn that it was produced by the safe hands of ubiquitous Hookworms man MJ, whose disgustingly cool CV also includes brilliant records by Joanna Gruesome, Martha and Honeyblood. It’s driven by the same irresistible energy as his other work from the off, with opening statement of intent Come On, Give Up setting us up for a breakneck ride which doesn’t abate until the final woozy strains of Fortune Teller have faded in our ears. In between, searing riffs pierce the clouds of fuzz like lightning from rock heaven, while the twin vocals of Liza Violet and Ryan Needham provide perfect counterpoints. There’s the odd surprise in there too, like the lush shoegaze of Blue Eye and Pick Out The Pieces. All of these ingredients mark Ratworld out as a truly excellent debut album.

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