After dropping their debut album Ratworld earlier this year, Leeds-based Menace Beach have wasted no time in producing an energetic but decidedly more focused follow-up. The five songs on the Super Transporterreum EP exist most obviously in the grunge spectrum, imagining what a less depressive and moody Nirvana would have sounded like. What immediately struck me about the EP was the sense of oomph to the music, with uptempo drumming, warm guitar, and the bright vocals of Ryan Needham used to counterbalance the powerful almost slimy basslines at the center of each and every track.
The contrast between these alternately sugary and sludgy sound elements is on display immediately in the opening title track. “Super Transporterreum” finds female vocalist Liza Violet providing quiet harmony parts during the verse and features and almost overbearing rhythm section, but it's a triumphant, soaring chorus that makes the song instantly memorable. Hazily psychedelic and easily the album's loudest and most aggressive, “Hey Toupe” thrashes relentlessly through its two and quarter minutes before “Ghoul Power” settles back into a slower '90s grunge groove. Violet and Needham double up the voice parts here, providing moments of both brilliance and slight abrasiveness, with an intricate guitar background adding a notion of chaos to the proceedings. More noticeably calm, “The Line” comes across as a relatively sweet and innocuous old-time pop digression and the album is capped off with the noisy but catchy closer “Radiate Me,” which works through singalong vocal stretches and a kaleidoscopic instrumental break prior to its jerky conclusion.
Despite the fact that there's nothing altogether surprising about Super Transporterreum (personally, I would have liked more use of Violet's voice), the EP proves that Menace Beach is quite adept at crafting indelible bits of alt pop. It'll be fascinating to see what the future holds for the band: I rather liked the more eclectic, “anything goes” approach taken on the band's previous full-length, but there's something to be said for the consistency demonstrated on the follow-up EP as well. At the very least, I hope the band continues to sound like they're having fun with their music: it makes the process of listening to it immeasurably more enjoyable.
8.0 / 10
Posted July 13, 2015, 5:40 p.m.
Half a year after the release of their debut album Ratworld, Leeds-based Menace Beach have already announced a follow-up. The five-track Super Transporterreum will release this fall, featuring artwork conjured ...
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