Micachu and the Shapes

‘Never’ is the latest album from experimental solo artist Micachu and her occasional band ‘The Shapes’ (Raisa Khan and Marc Pell) dropping on Rough Trade on July 23rd of this year. I have only just got round to listening to it and enjoyed the heck out of it. I was luke-warm about the tracks on 2009’s ‘Jewellry’ – that album had some fantastic sounds but lacked the complexity that  ‘Never’ deploys.

‘Never’ draws a listener in pretty quickly wish it’s bright, fuzzy and fun sound. The synths and guitar work all revolves around this sweet dissonance which produce the most eclectic melodies and build the uninhibited upbeat feel to this music – helped of course by the structures.  ‘Easy’ the first track on the album is an upbeat opener but also sets the tone for the rest of the album pulling out some great grooves and multiple layers of instrumentation. My favourite part of Easy has to be its outro of a hoover though, but that is how Micachu and her Shapes’ work progresses generally, it’s unpredictable but coherent. Unpredictability stays a part of the creative process though because the songs Heaven, Slick and Never all jump from movement to movement with a wide range of interesting sounds ranging from psychedelic to bright dissonance and junk-yard percussion – Pell does a stellar job in fact. Michachu’s vocals are very well produced on this album and sit comfortably on top of the mix,although at times Micachu does not always have a lot of space for her lyrics which are a necessary dimension in order for a song to reach its full potential. Slick is probably the only track where Micachu has fewer vocal effects and it sounds great as she enters the lower registers as well as show casing what she can do.

I did have a few points that detracted from rating this album really highly which comes down to the melodic and rhythmic grooves on each track. Often a song will open with  a great hook but then that hook is forgotten. My point is only that the grooves are so good it is a shame to lose them strait up. Also a couple of the tracks are a little too long, Holiday for example could be briefer. 

Minor critiques made though, this is an enjoyable album and refreshingly experimental and arranged perfectly. Micachu and the Shapes are touring the UK this October. See their myspace for more details:http://www.myspace.com/micayomusic


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