Even in an era in which 90s revivalism is the default mode, Ratworld, the debut album from Leeds sort-of-supergroup Menace Beach, felt particularly beholden to its influences: Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Galaxie 500 et al. Yes, it was a lovingly constructed facsimile, fuzz-swaddled and full of hooks, but a facsimile nevertheless. Good bands soon get bored of such mimicry, though, and follow-up album Lemon Memory sees Menace Beach expand their horizons. Its title is taken from the idea of a “lemon curse”, which bandleaders Liza Violet and Ryan Needham believe was placed on their house. Such loopy occultism sets the scene for an album dabbling in mind-expanding psych (Can’t Get a Haircut), motorik (the excellent Suck It Out) and the more outre edges of 80s and 90s indie. At times, things get impressively creepy – witness Maybe You Drown, which pairs Violet’s chiming vocals with a ghostly organ to create a nightmarish indie nursery rhyme. But all the while Violet and Needham maintain the keen eye for a bubblegum chorus that their early work exhibited. An impressive leap forwards.
Menace Beach: Lemon Memory review – motorik and mind-expanding psych
Gwilym Mumford is Culture editor of the Guardian Saturday magazine. He also writes The Guide, a weekly pop-culture newsletter