Rock family tree: tracing Menace Beach’s Derby past

Today Menace Beach release their highly anticipated second album Lemon Memory but the duo – Ryan Needham and Liza Violet – both have previous with former rising hopes; Derby bands Komakino and You Animals.

It’s a decade since synth-rock band Komakino, fronted by Needham, called it a day but back then they were hailed as being on the verge of greatness. The Guardian described them as, “equally anxious and angular, terse and tense, tightly constructed emo-prog surges” while elsewhere in music blogging it was said that “possess a suave, sophisticated air normally only found among their New York brethren”.

They took their name from a Joy Division flexidisc, toured with Hope Of The States, Bloc Party and Editors, and were produced at different times by Paul Draper of Mansun and Brett Anderson of Suede. Alongside Needham was Martin Samuels, Stuart Samuels, Martin Stone, and Dan Beddows and the 2005 release of EP Say Something (released via Drowned In Sound) seemed to herald big things for the band when it sold out within a day.

It was not to be; after the initial flurry things went quiet while signing to a major label was considered behind the scenes but was ultimately turned down. Speaking to MusicOHM in 2006 Needham said, “We were like, a day away from signing a really bad deal with a major label and we finally came to our senses about twelve hours before, and just went this isn’t right.”

The band split before work on the debut album was completed and emerged in an altered line-up (including the addition of Liza Violet with who Needham went on to form Menace Beach, and Matt Spalding who joins their extended live line-up while elsewhere is in management including for Grawlix, Slowdive and Minor Victories) as You Animals in 2008.

This band too were subject to some hype described as being energetic with “intelligently crafted pop hooks” while they said both their epic pop songs and darker more intense side was “inspired by the bees in the roof of our rehearsal studio.” They recorded an album, Sometimes I Wish We Were Older, toured and released through This Is Fake DIY Records. But longevity was not on the cards for them and by 2011 they split. A year later Needham and Violet, re-emerged with the beginnings of Menace Beach. And while they now call Leeds home their lineage is embedded in Derby’s music scene too.

You Animals – What A Shame, Lorraine from This Is Fake DIY Records on Vimeo.

We highly recommend checking out Menace Beach‘s album Lemon Memory and catching them at Rough Trade in Nottingham on 25 January (wristband entry). Derby band Pet Crow are also set to support the band on their Leeds date at Brudenell Social on 17 February 2017.

Find You Animals:

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