4/5 There are only a few seconds of vacuum cleaner on Micachu And The Shapes’ new album, which is surprising, considering household utensils making weird noises have previously been a big part of 25-year-old frontwoman Mica Levi’s music. Never is a more traditional record for Levi and her band.
They’ve even taken to using standard verse-chorus-verse song structures. There are a few of those eccentric samples – such as a snippet of conversation from The Only Way Is Essex, re-enacted by the band on song ‘Glamour’ because the show wouldn’t allow them to use the original – but the rest of the LP is (dare I say it) pop. Albeit a jarring, grimy vision of pop.
Whereas album one (2009’s Jewellery) was mainly a Levi solo project, for this second effort all three band members have pitched in to write and record. The results are catchy but also pleasingly off-kilter.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Never is so compelling. It could be Levi’s tuneful yet imperfect vocals or the contrast created by placing slow-burning numbers next to erratically discordant ones. One thing’s for sure: this is an album you’ll be turning over in your mind for a long time. Danielle Goldstein