Mica Levi is quickly shaping up as one of the year’s top tips-for-the-top.
Garth Cartwright 2009
21-year old Mica Levi is quickly shaping up as one of the year's top tips-for-the-top. Not that she's a reality TV competition winner or well groomed pop princess, instead she creates a fractured, unhinged music that blends several sources to end up sounding not much like anyone else currently out there.
Which is not to say she is doing anything original. No, the sound she creates on guitar and electronics (accompanied by Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums) is quite conventional indie rock with borrowings from all over – there’s grime and dubstep, Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails, Tricky and X Ray Spex – but the way she meshes them together, playing fast and jittery, layering sounds, leaving lots of hiss and clutter in, makes her stand out from today’s Brit rock pack.
How brightly she will stand out is debatable: she is no singer, preferring to mutter garbled lyrics – the effect is like listening to someone speaking too fast on the phone - and there is no melody or rhythm here that will appeal to those who like conventional structure in their pop. But the hype has already started with the likes of Guardian blogger Everett True claiming "Micachu is an exceedingly precocious 21-year-old who may go on to completely transform our expectations of music." Everett used to make great claims for Courtney Love so best to ignore such rhetoric – Micachu & The Shapes are conventionally unconventional, edgy and noisy as youth like to be, but in need of stronger songwriting if they want to appeal beyond rock writers who like to champion anything they consider dissonant.
As a debut album this suggests promise, but promise of what is unclear: rock music is now so played out that it is impossible to surprise listeners. For now, nothing here suggests making music for Micachu isn't just gap year fun before the real challenges of life begin.