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Never
Micachu & The Shapes Never
Released 20 July 2012
Producer Micachu & The Shapes
Label Rough Trade
Length 35:03
Genre Alternative
Website www.micachu.biz
80

Things that spring to mind when talking about Mica Levi's manic mechanical diy adventure in art pop are experimental, staccato and amazing. Micachu and The Shapes second album since 2008's Jewellery even further obscures the gap between traditional pop music and the chorus absent, distorted and lyrically obfuscated exercise of Never.

Unlikely to start a wave or movement in modern pop instead The Shapes seem to offer opposition, the title track alone 'Never' is joined by end tracks like 'Nothing' and 'Nowhere' and album wide musical arrangements that contend cacophonously with each other, are marred by digital drop outs and leaves the listener confounded awaiting build ups and bridges that ultimately don't appear. At times, the grime influenced, hip hop broken glass beats and unconventional instrumentation seems repetitive as the lyrics sink and dip between audible range and oftentimes the scant songs might seem undistinguished as if the album as a whole was some kind of amorphous beast but in totum it definitely works.

Never at times reads like art pop in conversation with grime and at others like an experimentation totally unconcerned with commercial viability but despite all this Never always remains listenable. The whole effort is a tour-de-force but Micachu prove their ability for a softer sound when the downbeat lull of 'Top Floor' that flits through to the melancholic chord pluck of 'Fall' but is soon able to rear its head again in defiance and a drugged out danceability.

If looking for something to lift you out of a summer of samey sounds, you'll love Micachu and the Shapes, unconventional but never snobby. A record that thinks 'fuck yeah' and follow through.

- Cormac O’Brien