Fuzzy, British indie rock outfit Menace Beach follow up their 2015 debut with Lemon Memory, a set of ten dazed incantations rebuking what the band describe as a "citrus-based curse" placed on their house. The cursed house in question belongs to Liza Violet and Ryan Needham, the Leeds-based musicians who form the permanent core of Menace Beach's otherwise rotating lineup. The genesis of Lemon Memory can be traced to the small Balearic island of Formentera. Once a bastion of '60s rock mysticism where Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan set up camp, Violet and Needham spent a sun-bleached holiday exploring the island's weird charms and writing the songs that would make up their second album. As on their debut, Menace Beach offers the split vision of two singer/songwriters whose shared influences and stylistic tendencies tangle together into a distinctive experience. The '90s shoegaze and fuzz-rock influence is still quite apparent here, but much of Lemon Memory has a skewed, experimental feel that shows the duo's progression into something more than crafty revivalists. The wobbly organ-droning title track is the album's creative centerpiece, providing one of the biggest highlights and anchoring the rest of the set with its clever psych-tinged melodies and muscular undercurrent. Likewise, the excellent single "Suck It Out" also dips its cup into the dark psychedelic currents and provides a sweet payoff with its massively hooky chorus. "Owl," a Violet-led standout, orchestrates moody synths and spiny guitars to frame the singer's eerie vocals. Lemon Memory is a subtle, yet solid step forward for Menace Beach as they move to separate themselves from a now-crowded field of '90s-indebted acts.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger