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Album Review

by Micachu and the Shapes

Rough Trade

Review Date
13th May 2009
Reviewed by
Paul Gallagher

Here are some gem quotes from the Rough Trade press release for this album: "jumping from eerie plundered atmospherics to hypnotic skiffle-beat guitars, to disintegrating fuzz-fest electronics"; "two parts brain-melting glitch to two party wonky post-folk ballads to one part brick-in-face grime"; and, "maddening fret-hits and taunting vocal refrains that lead you everywhere  and nowhere at the same time."  

It is worth a laugh at least.  

There are plenty of reasons why I should like this record, but I just can't bring myself to do that. These songs are a chaotic and assaulting mess of sound that come across as over earnest and poorly produced. Lead "singer" Mica Levi drawls her awkward voice throughout the album, which wouldn't be an entirely bad thing, if the band wasn't so eager to please or keen on being overtly "weird". It's weird for the sake of being it. It's the product of a post-modern life (think of "The Rise of the Idiots" from the short-lived UK comedic show Nathan Barley), it's super-sized combo, it's Skins, it's twitter vs. facebook, it's fluoro vs. "retro", it's beat-dance-acoustic-mash-hip-hop driven drivel, it's the more-modern realisation of the culture of the UK streetscape full of disarming block flats, it's LMAO vs ROFL, it's LOL-Cats, it's a mess and it's just wrong.  

It's dancy and it's kind of fun and I'm sure that it will appeal to someone. They get points for UK hip hop street "cred", and Pitchfork like 'em. But so what?  

It's brash arrogance and they aren't ashamed of it. But why should they be?

Paul Gallagher

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