[sic] Magazine

Micachu – Jewellery

Losing a trail of thought: One of the most frustrating experiences that all of us occasionally suffer from. It all started when we were school kids thinking we had the right answer, before forgetting it. It’s stuck with us ever since but not many of us thought it would end up in the form of music. The majority of Micachu’s debut album ‘Jewellery’ is a cocaine-fuelled haze, eager to get every bit of rhythm and noise out of its system for everyone’s pleasure. And half of the time you think Mica Levi and her Shaped companions are losing their trail of thought or interrupting each other but thankfully, every interruption out-does the other.

Lo-fi music always has its cynics, calling the recording process lazy, half-arsed, un-enjoyable, that’s about it. But some underground shift has triggered a new means of thinking when it comes to lo-fi recording. ‘Jewellery’ jumps onto the bedroom-recording bandwagon, but gives it a new meaning. A Bjork-esque, Harry Partch-inspired experiment of recording junk-shop household cutlery, Hoovers, saucepans and Gameboy gadgets might not sound entirely new to you but ‘Jewellery’ boasts a complete mastering of this method. Again, your enjoyment is pleasingly interrupted by the piercing sound of a buzzing noise or an anonymous squeak. Lo-fi production this might be categorically but you hear every tiny detail and these details are timed to perfection to give that little bit more impact. It makes sense: Micachu’s been waiting in the debut-album queue for sometime, floating about in the music scene, as a producer herself. But here, Matthew Herbert has been hired to squeeze every song within an inch of their life, making this album the most interesting of the year so far.

One listen, you’re overwhelmed. Too much happens for instant digestion. But that’s the point. Like a best friend, as your relationship progresses with ‘Jewellery’, it becomes more open with sharing you some of it’s secrets. Secrets range from carefully placed adjustments in the drums or the vocals, but best of all it’s the discovery of a glorious lyric that really warms you inside. Simplistic as they may be, tokens of hate such as: “And I put things all over the floor, if I stand on my bed I can see it all//And I put your things all over the floor, if I jump off my bed I can smash it all”, especially when placed in between instrumental bliss, become all the more effective behind the ‘blink-and-you-missed it’ sonics.

But above all else it’s the range between ghostly pale noise experiments (’Eat Your Heart’) and carefully crafted pop gems (’Golden Phone’) that makes this album stand out in a crowd. So many skills to showcase, the balance between the ugly and the brilliant is perfect, somehow making the ugly glow at the same time. Opener ‘Vulture’ indicates frenzied joy and although that’s what you altogether receive, it’s not too full frontal to distract you from the more subtle qualities of the record.

Micachu is a pop pioneer, up there with Metronomy when it comes to thinking outside the box. Only this time, we’re encouraged to wander outside that box with them and lose ourselves in these bewitched trails of thought…

Listen and Learn