Review of Micachu's album Jewellery released through Rough Trade.
What's not to like about Mica Levi and her Shapes? Well, if you sever the nerve that is sending the nagging impulse to your brain, telling you that maybe, just maybe she sounds a little too much like Cockney fuckwits Esser and Goldielocks in places, then.no, there's not much, is there?
What Micachu has over the aforementioned fuckwits and darlings of the wannabe buzz brigade is that she appreciates the finer art of self-deprecation. Personality plays second fiddle to musicality and she steps into her songs, playing a part in them but never leaping out, never primping, never preening. Lyrically, Levi lifts the banal into the realm of the sublime. Everyday phrasing becomes poignant in her hands. 'Just in case, I've covered for the worst/In case I tell you half of everything first/It will probably come out a jumble of words.' Modern-day paranoia, self-effacement and zeitgeist-anxiety permeate; the minutiae of life are blended into the songs like extra instrumentation.
Experimentation looms large over Jewellery. The whirr of a vacuum cleaner and the clatter of kitchen paraphernalia are as audible as any conventional musical equipment. Hierarchically, they ring out louder, busting out of the confines of convention and ably mixed by Matthew Herbert (who is also releasing the album on his Accidental records label). Tip-toeing a fine wire between clutter and space, Micachu adds just enough to her songs to make them beguiling, rather than bewildering. Stripped of its trimmings, Jewellery is a pretty straight down the line pop record. With all its embellishments and quirks, though, it plays back more like a work of modern art, an irreverent collage of found sounds and customised instruments.
So, move over, fu**wits, Micachu's got a nerve to go sever.