“We got this book called Mysterious Cults that we picked up second hand,” begins Liza Violet, of Menace Beach, explaining the intriguing title of the Leeds-based noise pop outfit’s second album Lemon Memory.
“Ryan [Needham, the band’s co-founder] was reading it and he came across this bit about being able to leave a curse on your enemies by being able to leave a bag of lemons in their front garden. He remembered back to five years ago we found this carrier bag of lemons in the front of our garden when we were living in this pretty disgusting house and he decided that maybe it was a curse. It was a bit of a jumping off point for writing lyrics and stuff.”
A step up from its 2015 predecessor, Ratworld, Lemon Memory is the sound of a band growing in confidence as song writers.
“Yeah, I think so, and definitely with recording as well,” Violet agrees. “I know it’s weird being in the studio, sometimes it’s hard to communicate your ideas and everyone’s got such a different take on everything but now we know how to be a bit more stubborn and how to get our ideas across, we know how to achieve that as well which I think helps.”
The new album sees Violet’s vocals and keyboards more to the fore. “I think it just worked out that way,” she says. “Ryan and I are writing all the time, it just depends who is in the most creative phase at the time. I had a lot of ideas left over from the last record that I wished I’d done or looking back things that I would do a bit differently so I already had a good store of stuff ready to use.”
Nick Chantler, the band’s drummer, says that having a clear idea of how the record should sound before they entered the studio, “as opposed to trying to figure stuff out whilst we in the recording process”, made a big difference sonically. “I think the songs were a lot more there in the demo stage so we had a lot more time to think about drum sounds and stuff.”
Ryan and I are writing all the time, it just depends who is in the most creative phase at the time.Liza Violet
“I think it was a bit more considered,” says Violet. “The first one sounded quite live. We had a bit more time to think about this one.”
Sheffield’s Ross Orton, who produced the album, has previously worked with Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A., The Fall and Roots Manuva. “His take on drums is really interesting because he’s previously a drummer [with the band Add N to X],” says Chantler. “So he’s obsessed with drum sounds, which is really cool. We’ve never had that luxury before to spend that amount of time on stuff like that.”
The band’s 15-date UK tour, which concludes at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on February 17, is their longest run of shows in this country so far. “We’ve not got that many days off this time so hopefully we should be able to keep momentum,” says Chantler. Afterwards they plan to head to the USA and have been invited to appear at the South By South West annual music industry showcase in Austin, Texas. “That would be really great,” says Violet. “We haven’t been out there yet so it’ll be interesting.”
Lemon Memory, and the single Give Blood, are out now. Menace Beach play at Brudenell Social Club on Friday February 17. https://en-gb.facebook.com/menacingbeaches/