Micachu And The Shapes: Kitchen Sink Music

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Calculator"
  • Artist: Micachu and the Shapes
  • CD: Jewellery
  • Genre: Pop
Micachu and the Shapes 300

Clangorous and poppy, "Calculator" may be the easiest introduction to Micachu and the Shapes. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Micachu and the Shapes' Mica Levi doesn't look like a child prodigy. Well, she does look like a child: Practically every photo shows Levi hiding behind a bramble of curls and swimming inside a T-shirt four sizes too big. But the 22-year-old Brit, who started writing music at age 4, also studied composition and violin at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama and wrote a piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra last year.

Consider Jewellery another orchestra piece, written for guitar, voice and kitchen sink. Levi's full-length debut, it finds a sweet spot between disjointed pop and busker garage. Both clangorous and poppy, "Calculator" may be the easiest introduction to Levi's music. While most of Jewellery begins with heavily distorted guitar or jumbled samples, the song's opening guitar riff cribs The Champs' instantly recognizable "Tequila." Levi's usually deadpan voice finds a pretty vocal melody to anchor the song, though her admonitions are just as cold: "You'll be needing that sooner or later," she sings of the title object, "because I don't think you can work this one out."

"Calculator" retains the album's best elements — Levi's androgynous voice, twee electronics and production — but it's a little less noisy than the work that surrounds it. Producer and microhouse master Matthew Herbert's own attention to detail shows here: Even though "Calculator" is chaotic, each resonant guitar strum and keyboard bleep remains as integral as a decimal place.

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