Track Review – Ghoul Power / Menace Beach

Menace Beach’s first LP, Ratworld, was an album of 90s-rock adoration, something that isn’t too rare in modern rock bands. They took a lot of Pixies male-female vocal harmonies, plus Nirvana’s mainstream/underground crossover accessibility. Not much has changed for their new EP, or the second track to be released, ‘Ghoul Power’. The power-chord thrash is reminiscent of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and the sudden amping-up of power sounds a bit like ‘In Bloom’. It’s not entirely Nirvana, though. The vocal mixture remains, working incredibly well with Ryan Needham’s stoner-rock moans and Liza Violet’s yelps, which are very similar to that of ex-Joanna Gruesome frontwoman Alanna McCardle. Though Menace Beach has been called a supergroup for indie-rock, arguably the team of Needham and Violet working together is the driving force of these lo-fi rock songs.

The vocals are invariably lost in the track due to the shoestring-budget-type production, which could easily have been cleaned up for the sake of clarity, but instead Menace Beach stick to their DIY roots. The best elements are when the guitars punch through on the chorus, and the quieter moments on the verses, when Violet and Needham don’t compete with the blown-out guitars and bass. Sometimes the obsession with 90s alternative rock is infuriating, especially with all of the other bands around trying to make the same sounds. In that respect, ‘Ghoul Power’ is just another bunch of overdriven guitars with fiercly-DIY people at the helm. However, Menace Beach is definitely one of the better bands trying to reach that sound and ‘Ghoul Power’ is another solid song in the catalogue.