Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery
Mica Levi AKA Micachu, the front woman with The Shapes, undeniably understands and embraces the phrase, ‘think outside the box’. In fact, Micachu & The Shapes debut album Jewellery doesn’t even recognise that there is a box, just a world of endless possibilities and a thousand ways to realise them. Rules, regulations, laws of nature, time honoured traditions, pah! These things simply don’t exist here, and you know what? It’s a fun place to be - here, imagination is the only limitation.
Produced by the influential, and to some, genius like Matthew Herbet, it wouldn’t be in any way detrimental to describe Jewellery as somewhat homemade. This is a record that quite simply wouldn’t work as any other kind of medium, its life-force, as such, is the freedom of the DIY ethic that runs so strongly throughout. Where else can you find a band playing a customised vacuum cleaner? Or a one-off bowed instrument that has been fashioned from a vertical CD rack? Nowhere, that’s where! Not even the Wombles, for all their recycling suss, could have envisioned such things.
‘Vulture’ kicks proceedings off in style, a monster-sized mash up of dirty break beats and whistling keys that gives way to a quirky pop-tinged chorus that begs you to put on your dancing shoes. Fans of Digital Hardcore Recordings and its spearhead figure, Alec Empire, will immediately feel at one with the acerbic drums that lace the track and many others throughout.
For all the harsh sounding production on Jewellery, there are some true pop moments on display, albeit it pop moments buried underneath a razor-wired wall of cut up sounds. Just listen to the vacuum cleaner utilising ‘Turn Me Well’, or the brilliantly bouncy ‘Golden Phone’ - the melodies are unquestionable. Admittedly though, ears that are not immediately enamoured with the primary sound on Jewellery will find it impossible to sit through all 13 tracks. In fact, there are a good 3 or 4 tracks that unfortunately fit into the ‘filler’ bracket, letting the album down slightly and are the difference between a good album and a great one.
The likes of ‘Lips', ‘Curly Teeth’ and ‘Floor’ could have been recorded on a dilapidated boom box before being fed through a dodgy version of Cubase. Of course, they could have been recorded in a plush studio somewhere, either way, they sound great and reek of individualism. And it’s that very individualism that is key to this albums charms, it genuinely doesn’t sound like anything else out there, it strides into the world alone but most certainly brave and packing one hell of a punch.