Menendez certainly promise to be an unusual proposition with brother/sister twin vocals and a Pavement influence. Furthermore, although they are feted as a “Slowcore” act, the group boast a drummer described as a “metalhead”, so an hour’s worth of off-kilter, sludgy rock would seem to be the order of the day.
For ‘Androcles Begins To Regret His Initial Decision’, the grinding guitars, shoegazer harmonies and stop-start pace dovetail to form an early highlight. After that it’s queasy, uneven ride held together by a constant atmospheric chill.
Primitive tracks such as ‘Candyland’ possess a rough-hewn intimacy but ‘Triple Negative’ and ‘Fragile’ seem like experimental fare which register little interest after the first couple of listens. Having said that, the near ten wordless minutes of ‘Interrupted Monologue’ builds up a satisfying air of tension and sadness thanks to some insistent rhythms and Dif Juz-style guitars. Generally though, there’s more enjoyment to be had from Menendez’s song-based material. ‘They Said It Would Happen’ boasts a satisfying doleful melody and the appropriately-titled ‘Ballad’ and ‘In Breach Of Nature’s Demise’ offer a hushed, lullaby-like finale.
Taken at face value, ‘Apple For Teacher’ sounds like a very drunken kind of stoner rock but there’s an intelligence under the surface. Those moments of tenderness also serve to emphasise that this record has a beating heart too.