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Micachu & The Shapes
Jewellery Alex Denney , March 12th, 2009 05:49

A quick capsule summary of 21-year-old Mica Levi’s M.O. raises familiar hackles for the seasoned trafficker in trendy guff. Currently resident in London’s trendy eastern districts, Levi – or Micachu to her mates – is frequently depicted in the music press as cavorting with Hoovers at live shows, and is a noted admirer of avant-garde composer Harry Partch, late rival of hipster icon John Cage.

So when news surfaces that she’s signed with her titular Shapes to Rough Trade for the release of a debut entitled Jewellery, thoughts inevitably turn to what else can I be doing when it comes out. Like having my fingers plucked out one by one and replaced with the miniaturised cast of Loose Women (a scenario which admittedly loses some of its illustrative power when you envisage Clare Sweeney’s tiny, mawkish features moved to terror as you swoop in to scratch your bum).

McGiffin and co can rest easy for now, however, since Jewellery turns out to be a thrilling pick ‘n’ mix of puckish pop nonsense that will absolutely charm your kecks off, hoovers and all. Winking broadly at myriad styles from grime to playground skiffle and corrosive noise with nary a bum note bared, in some ways it’s capricious and not exactly fully-formed, but you can’t help but admire how much of this record flat-out works. 'Golden Phone''s a blinding tune showcasing Levi's gruff cockney diction, pleasingly pitched midway between a leer and a rictus grin. And 'Curly Teeth''s a moderately deranging racket that recalls Damon Albarn at his most stridently experimental.

Performed on a specially tuned guitar with a host of electronic glitches and gloops and seemingly held together with elastic bands and spit, Jewellery’s wonky pop architecture finds joy in sheer surrealist musical abstraction, as with ‘Golden Phone’’s lip-smacking lines: “love’s all around, yeah, but I don’t want none / time’s everywhere, yeah, but I don’t want none / gold in my hair, yeah, but I don’t want none / give me that nonsense sound and I’ll be back”.

Call that punk or even Dada if you like, it matters not. Micachu’s a rare talent seemingly heaven-sent to snatch bedroom pop from the ‘pit-sniffing dullards once more, and for that we have only to be thankful.

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