Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery

Arrangements far flung from the gloss of verse-chorus boreathon pop.

If the idea of making yourself an instrument in bric-a-brac style sounds disturbing, just think of the enormous garage Micachu must have raided when creating ‘Jewellery’. The household objects are playing mischief on this splendidly deranged debut with arrangements far flung from the gloss of verse-chorus boreathon pop.

Take as your marker the part-sultry, part psychotic ‘Ship’ with its three note kids Casio winding throughout and the male rudeboys chiming their slang while our mistress in the making makes threats of “watch my lips you’re going to sink”. It’s a trick that bodes well for the remaining 13 tracks, a blend of childlike grace with the music box and an altogether more serious appreciation of percussion.

‘Vulture’ proves there’s not much between the standard six string and an elastic band strung box in terms of groove building. Her own makeshift instrumentation includes a vacuum cleaner on ‘Turn Me Well’, satisfyingly shut off and on to weave with unsettling vocal cuts, droning bass and a crackly sample. The sparse rhythms whipping up pregnant pauses and an almost alcoholic vocal – potent and disgruntled as it is – much the same story for ‘Hardcore’, although what can be drawn from its tornado sample is something of a mystery.

The speedy, ramshackle, greeting that is ‘Vulture’ sounds like Mica employed a cement mixer for the recording to fill out an expansive backdrop. And at less than one minute in length ‘Sweetheart’ is giddyingly whip smart. Whilst bird noises creep between electronic bleeps on the unstrung ‘Curly Teeth’, unsettling in its minor chords and out-of-tune playing the guitar.

Aside from the commendations this album deserves for innovation – lyrics, instruments, etc – there are the intrinsic qualities that Micachu engages with, to force together the odd jigsaw pieces. Her voice, for a start, is almost delicate; pained, slurred and emotively engaging with the mood of these tracks. Take ‘Floor’ for example, her Lily Allen naiveties diminished by the slight slurring, a self-conscious notion of sentimentality that veins through the lyrics. These are the same foundations that sit under ‘Just In Case’ with its own split personality – at one minute musing “and I won’t have sex cos of STDs”, before grappling with almost breakbeat bump and flex rhythms but ‘Guts’ proves she has more than just growing pains in a hefty fuzz of guitar.

No good voice or song would be favourable without melody. And Micachu throws a tonne of these into songs that feel as though they could’ve been recorded in a bathroom: production values are well and truly given the boot for ‘Jewellery’. ‘Calculator’ has a light-hearted skiffle and untamed series of blips, despite an almost threatening message where, voice and guitar compete for space. Likewise, ‘Eat Your Heart’ slouches and fuzzes along with a regulated melody line in the voice and bass, but with far more wayward effects climbing aboard..

It takes a very accomplished artist to turn out a Picasso from a jumble-sale collection of parts but Micachu seems to be slowly proving that too many people forget the kitchen sink in their sights… And of course Henry the Hoover.

Tags: Micachu, Reviews, Album Reviews

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