This is a review of "Dream Out" recorded by Menace Beach. The review was written by Rosie Kightly Stoker in 2014.
*Click* I select the first song. The clanging riff comes in. I picture fingers plucking at the strings hypnotically, it holds for a few seconds longer than that of a usual intro. I like. I picture the rolling green fields of Hudders-Fax as I look out of the bus window, and suddenly I'm en route to college, the daily trek being spiked and molded into lasting memories by that of an on-running, over played yet ever changing soundtrack moving down my headphones. I'm 17 again. I am listening to the first guitar riffs of my youth once more and my heart flutters with excitement at the prospect of something new and familiar and old and new. Yes, I am back at the very start of my virginal music experimentation of the naughties within seconds of Dream Out beginning.
I won't be so spurious to say that it captured my love instantly. Upon first listening of this particular EP I began craving the familiar noise of the bands I know and love and that the songs and riffs and sounds currently drawing on and thus instilling a need for; The Pixies, Wheezer, Suede, The Strokes. The second listen broke it down and by the third I was enthralled by the hypnotically quiet insomnia the collaboration brings.
It's good. So I listen again. I allow it time, as you should with most things worthy. I'm having trouble with my computer - it's on in the background. I'm having a shower, it's on in the background. I can muliti-task, I can give it attention; I can picture myself dancing on a Saturday night at FAB to Teenage Jesus. It's an all-rounder and enjoyable to boot.
If I were to give it some outright (personal) criticism, it would be that I begin to wonder what there is under all that reverb, I want to hear the clear melody of the voice behind this delightful EP. Perhaps this is a personal blight, but I like clear, clean vocals, at least on some of the tracks. I can't help but be slightly skeptical of why it's there continuously. But it works. It's not the be all and end all. It goes hand in hand with the heavy guitar (MJ, Hookworms), the steady, sweeping drums from Nestor (Sky Larkin), and the overall feel of the EP. It's just not all that different from what I used to know and love.
But hey, when has that been a true issue, really? It's done well and with its own twists and takes. The refreshing side to Menace Beach is the delightful female harmonising leading vocals of the woman in this (technical) duo; Liza Violet. Again, I like. I like a lot. It compliments and gives a ruffle of subtle delicate strength and emphasis alongside the rough, taunting voice of Ryan Needham that becomes one with the fuzzy logic of the instruments and at points, separating itself and overpowering. It's a brilliant combination and what does make this EP and band something a little different from the rest.
The ironic energy of Burn Out (short but sweet) enhances the thoughts already building about this band. That this is not just a band for listening to in the confines of your room, shower, on your phone or ipod. No, this is a band that belong on the stage. Engaging the audience and living the dream similar to those young girls and boys who were 17, playing at the local socials to their peers. An electric gig to those that want it and maybe those that are slightly skeptical. They're born to be live. They want to perform and after this, I want to not only listen, but to watch them, with both my eyes as the reverb and noise and vocals and lyrics rise into the sweat filled euphoria of the local social club.
And the best thing about it is, I will be able to! A staple to the Leeds and surrounding areas scene and also booked for this year's Live At Leeds I look forward to further introduction into their work and collaborations.
Dream Out is what music is about; collaboration, love, life, pain and something that gets better with letting yourself listen. A treat of nostalgia and the future, of home entertainment and live promise held together with a cheeky wink and knowing smile that there is more to come and it will be worthy of your time.