[sic] Magazine

Menace Beach – Lowtalker EP

Menace Beach have their fingers in at least a couple of pies at all times. Their tracks frequently start as one thing and end as another. This is no doubt due to their varied member-base, which reads like some backstage happenstance at an inner-city festival as the band’s core duo of Liza Webster and Ryan Needham – the latter formerly of Komakino – have a revolving-door policy when it comes to contributors. MJ of Hookworms fame duly drops by, Nestor Matthews from Sky Larkin and RobertPulled Apart By HorsesLee too, not forgetting Mansun’s Paul Draper who offers supporting vocals and guitar here and there.

Yet, despite its curious cast – in which there must surely be an ego or two – the five-track Lowtalker EP is far from showy. It is playful though, shuffling through its caprices at the drop of a hat. “Cheerleader”, for example, starts life with wandering guitar and psychedelic repeats, contorting into generic indie at its midpoint and closing with a passage of noisy scree. Going one better, “Fortune Teller” combines woozy psyche with slacker shoegaze and drapes them both off the arms of nostalgic 90s rock icons like The Breeders.

Of the remaining tracks, “Where I Come From” is least appealing, trying in vain to offset its bog-standard indie-rock with organ chatter. On the other hand, “Nervous” makes a better account of itself with grunge-light serration masking bratty indie-pop vibes while “Honolulu” reveals itself to be a sweet little psyche ditty – albeit one defaced by a heavy bassline and a veil of noise.

With so much going on it’s surprising then that Lowtalker doesn’t leave more of a lasting impression. It seems happy to stay in the shadows, undemanding of your attention, but draw it out and spend some quality time with it and might just become a good friend. Just don’t move in together yet for its messy trail of influences has the potential to go both ways.

Best tracks: “Fortune Teller” and “Honolulu”.

~The Lowtalker EP is out now on Memphis Industries.~