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Micachu & the Shapes: Good Sad Happy Bad *

Track List

>Sea Air
>Thinking It
>O Baby
>LA Poison

Album Reviews:

NME (Magazine) - "The wheezy, tail-chasing stomp of `Relaxing' comes on like a lost Fall recording corrupted by computer glitches. `Sea Air' is built on murky synths and the hiccups of ghostly gremlins in the machine."

Pitchfork (Website) - "The record counteracts the fuzzy, almost punk rock energy of their last album Never, settling for soft, acoustic guitar and childlike keyboard arrangements."

Album Notes

As they've gained acclaim for the way they teeter between experimental music and indie pop, Micachu & the Shapes haven't made any concessions. If anything, Good Sad Happy Bad suggests that the trio might be incapable of making them. The projects Mica Levi pursued between 2012's Never and this album, like her award-winning Under the Skin score and her production work on her friend Tirzah's left-field pop EPs, have had more scope and more potential mainstream appeal; meanwhile, the Shapes remain as uncompromising as ever on Good Sad Happy Bad, a title that suggests the collision of sounds and feelings in these unpredictable songs. The album's roots lie in a jam session that drummer Marc Pell recorded without telling Levi or keyboardist Raisa Khan, and the finished product keeps that spontaneity. More than ever, Micachu & the Shapes are unconcerned with embellishments that could get in the way of capturing the moment; Levi's gritty, nasal voice is as piercing and artless as a gull's caw on "Sea Air." Several of Good Sad Happy Bad's songs echo the brilliant way Levi used just a handful of notes to craft Under the Skin. The eerie "Waiting" could be a pop interpretation of that score, with little more than a simple keyboard line decorating the space between Levi and the object of her affection as she mutters "you're holding someone too much." This kind of emotional clarity elevates the album's best moments, whether on the Jewellery-esque whimsy of "Dreaming" or "Suffering," a wry expression of the detached self-awareness that runs through much of the Shapes' music. Meanwhile,"O Baby," a haunting mix of hip-hop, soul, and dub that sounds cobbled together from vintage samples (but isn't) and "LA Poison," a reverie where Levi imagines "A place where the cars and people are equal/And they move around each other like lovers/Crashing colliding/Smiling and dying" prove that the Shapes are capable of moments of striking, unsentimental beauty that provide new vantage points on timeless feelings. ~ Heather Phares


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