Micachu and the Shapes – Never
Micachu (Mica Levi) is the queen of weird, bringing us the strange and exciting in her demented second album with the Shapes,Never.
The British band, made up of Levi, Raisa Khan, and Marc Pell, tear sound apart and stick it back together with whatever’s at hand. It’s grungey glitch-pop smashed to bits and given the Frankenstein treatment in a dirty garage, late at night.
An blur of kitchen sink sounds, cinematic themes and triptastic cacophonies of sonic experimentation, Never is unlike anything you will have heard before. Even after multiple loops it’s easy to pick up on a new twist, a new melody, a new instrument among the mess.
It isn’t just chaos, though, and that’s where Micachu and the Shapes set themselves apart. Everyone can throw a drawer of cutlery on the floor, but not everyone can work that into a song as these guys did in Easy.
The wild mess is sneakily tamed, like art drawn in scribbles. If you look at it piece by piece, there’s not much there but noise, but take a step back and listen to the whole, and there are clear-cut tunes fighting their way out of the rubble. If impressionism hit its peak now, artists would have gleefully created their drugged up masterpieces to this music.
Some songs, like woodwind lullaby Top Floor and boppyHoliday, are quite sweet. The latter skips along to a warbling track of vocal harmonies and drums, with piercing wurlitzer crying underneath it all.
Low Dogg is throbbing and gritty with a hiphop-ish beat, and title-track Never has a tangy Haysi Fantayzee lick of carnival freakishness.
Glamour and Slick could be the theme tunes to demented 90s kids’ cartoons (subject matter aside), and then Fall rolls out with a stunning and suspenseful orchestral coda (which, in turn, winds into Nowhere, a rapid-fire adrenaline burst of mad pop).
Micachu and the Shapes are clearly crazy. The homemade pop, brought straight from the asylum, has a daring, fresh, and compelling edge. Never is an album to be tasted and tested and ultimately loved.