Review: Micachu and the Shapes

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Last night Manchester’s Soup Kitchen played host to alternative-pop band Micachu and the Shapes as part of their pre-release tour. Headed by classically trained music visionary Mica Levi, the musical trio blasted on stage with songs from their new album, Good Sad Happy Bad, after nearly three years since their last recordings together. After they slowly teased out releases from this forthcoming album over the past few weeks, sharing tracks Oh Baby and Sad online, avid fans packed out the damp basement of Manchester’s favourite canteen to catch the band’s eagerly anticipated return.

Experimental pop music has always been at the heart of Micachu’s sound, with distorted guitar riffs, oddly-timed beats and almost out of tune vocals, and last night proved these are all elements heavily used in the new album too. Levi, joined by band mates Marc Pell and Raisa Kahn, produced a disturbingly offbeat performance where the music moved between a grungy lo-fi aesthetic and atmospheric Bjorkesque tones.

The album came to fruition after a long jam session in East London which drummer Pell secretly recorded – a surprise to other band members and fans alike. Levi sang with a drawling, Surrey-via-London inflection that gave the impression she had just stepped out of bed, and she spoke to the audience with an ease that bordered on apathy. Certainly steering away from their previous up-tempo, electronic pop, the evening’s performance signalled a turn for Micachu towards a more pronounced grunge sound. With sludgy guitar riffs, jarring vocals and manipulated bass tones, Good Sad Happy Bad promises to be a game-changer.

Anna Freeman

Micachu and The Shapes played Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 28 July. Good Sad Happy Bad is out 11 Sept on Rough Trade

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