I admit that I am not a creative genius, my ability to paint an inspirational piece of art or craft a beautiful song are about as good as Katie Hopkins' ability to keep her opinions to herself. I do, however, feel that I am qualified to express my own opinion on others' creativity, as long as that opinion has a certain balance, perspective and honesty. Where I occasionally struggle with that privilege is when I want to like something, recognise its worth and know the creativity and capability is there but that it's not entirely evident in the end product.
Unfortunately, 'Good Sad Happy Bad' is just such an album. I have loved some of Micachu & The Shapes' previous songs so know that there is brilliance to be had. If nothing else, you have to be inspired by the avant garde approach, some of the production, techniques, instrumentation, arrangements and overall freshness of their unique music. At times, though, there are so many ideas, so much to transfer and translate into a track that some of that will undoubtedly work better than others.
Rather like other prolific innovators of our time, such as Jack White, Damon Albarn or, perhaps most similarly, Mark E Smith, I'd like to see Micachu & The Shapes just occasionally take a moment, hold tight for a while, consider and contemplate. Take that idea, put a pin in it and save it until you can add value to it, not just use it immediately and potentially, and not exactly waste it, but diminish its impact. Mark E Smith may not have changed the face of British music, but he has had a huge influence on it and has certainly been an inspiration to many other musicians. However, along with the great work he has been responsible for in The Fall, Mark E Smith has also released some quite poor output. Over editing may become stifling and counter-productive but just occasionally you'd like someone to have suggested that some of it may not have been good enough. I'd like that conversation to have taken place before the release of 'GSHB'.
Continue reading: Micachu & The Shapes - Good Sad Happy Bad Album Review
Micachu & The Shapes can always be relied upon for attempting to communicate in a unique and barely comprehensible language; listening to which is most certainly an acquired taste. This offering, their third full-length offering if last years' live album recorded with the London Sinfonietta is counted and sounds an equally weird punk-meets-avant garde blend.
'Easy' kicks things off with a noisy fuzzy blend and a messy combination of percussion and electronics beneath distinctive, desperate sounding vocals. The track speeds up to an abrupt conclusion which sets the scene for 'Never' which sounds frantic, anxious vocals over a strange riff and pushing drums. Both the opening numbers are short blasts of tracks at less than two minutes each, but a snippet of just two personalities of a schizophrenic musical world that needn't be longer. 'Waste' is an instrumental constructed from an eclectic mix of electronically manipulated sounds that creates some kind of rock, electro, noise fusion before 'Slick' fades in back to a song, though it's melody doesn't really feel like a tuneful melody and its' accompaniment of rhythmic squelching and scraping is repetitive and uneasy.
Continue reading: Micachu & The Shapes, Never Album Review
True inspirational pioneers of fashion, art or music are a rare phenomenon. People who become synonymous with a certain era, those who help define or shape it so come to represent aspects of popular culture for generations. Though not necessarily embraced or lauded during the infancy of their creativity their craft and influence does eventually filter through to a more populist level.
Is Mica Levi such a person? Is she music's next Pollock, Presley, Salinger, Dylan, Dean, Chanel, Hirst, Bowie, Lydon, Lichtenstein, Westwood, Wilde, Warhol, Kerouac, Turner, Emin, McQueen, Mozart, Monroe or Cobain? She is young, extremely talented and unique. She continues to creatively push the accepted boundaries of music, 'popular' or otherwise. She is challenging norms and pursuing new avenues of sonic exploration, seemingly at will and with ease. How long will it be before Mica's catwalk collection is deconstructed and used as familiar everyday references? Has it already begun to happen?
Mica Levi has been performing since she was 4. She studied Violin and Viola, was a student at London's Guildhall and has DJ'd on the Garage & Grime circuit. She has already been commissioned to write an orchestral piece by, and for, The London Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently had her work performed at The Royal Festival Hall. Micachu and her band The Shapes have already released a formidable debut album in the form of 'Jewellery', an album that by rights should have at least made the Mercury nominations for 2009. 'Chopped & Screwed', the result of the bands collaboration with The London Sinfonietta, represents their second album for Rough Trade and their first live release.
Continue reading: Micachu, Chopped & Screwed Album Review
Review of Michachu and the Shapes single Golden Phone.
Continue reading: Micachu, Golden Phone Single Review