micachu

Mica Levi has always been confounding. It’s impossible to fault her for diversifying from her already-expansive palette of styles, but after composing the haunting score for Jonathan Glazer’s film adaptation of Under the Skin, there’s something about the notion of her returning to the Shapes that smacks of obligation if you think about it too much.

The dehumanised themes of ‘Under the Skin’ seem to have led to a (relative) outpouring of emotion on the third Micachu and the Shapes album, bluntly titled ‘Good Sad Happy Bad’. As much of a sonic grabbag as ever – not for nothing was the band’s collaboration with the London Sinfonietta entitled ‘Chopped and Screwed’ – this is a collection of lo-fi post punk jingles. Clattering garage thrashes rub shoulders with the more easygoing likes of the dusky, loping ‘LA Poison’, all tied together with the strangulated rasp of Levi’s distinctive vocals.

The highlight is ‘Thinking It’, a throwaway-sounding carnivalesque romp, darkened by a stream-of-consciousness spoken word vocal, debating the long-term-versus-short-term merits of keeping fit, to a surprisingly profound conclusion. Sadly, though, the rest of the lyrics rarely cut that deep, with platitudes spat out to sound like inflammatory slogans. And while there’s a lot to sink your teeth into on here, too much of it seems underwritten or unfinished to really get – ahem – under the skin.

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