The Micachu & The Shapes new album Good Sad Happy Bad was released September 11th on Rough Trade. Listen to the track "Oh Baby" from the album here. They will tour the U.S. this fall.
Three years after the release of their last record, Micachu & The Shapes' return is almost an accident: the trio of friends decided to rehearse in an East London studio and found themselves immersed into an hours-long jam. Drummer Marc Pell had an Edirol field recorder in hand, and unbeknownst to his bandmates, recorded the whole session; Bell, Mica Levi, and Raisa Khan were so enamored of those off-the-cuff audio experiments that they became the underpinnings of a new record.
"For me it's the most free we have been," Levi explains. Rather than showing up to the studio with songs written out, the trio started with a collaborative improvisation, from which Levi chose sections to develop into songs, writing lyrics to the entire record "non-stop, in one avalanche."
With one listen, it's easy to hear why they loved the tracks. Good Sad Happy Bad maintains the experimental-pop sensibility the band has brought to previous efforts, combining the lightness and bounce of their best singles with the sonic textures of field recordings, industrial effects alongside straightforward instrumentation. Levi's affected vocals eschew easily readable emotional tone, instead relying on quixotic lyricism, repetition, and immersion into the songs landscape, to evoke warmly - rather than show - the sentiments underpinning the songs.
Conversely, because the band worked out the final mixes together over a number of months - rather than in a traditional, multi-track studio over a shorter period - Pell found a new degree of creativity. "I think the best drum part I have ever written is the stick-clicking at the beginning of 'Peach' - a moment, he explains, that he wouldn't have been able to notice without the luxury of seeing the recorded tracks as more than simply songs, but as collections of sonic ideas.
In the years since the band's last work together, Levi's star in the world of modern composition has risen, due in large part to her work on Jonathan Glazer's standout 2014 film, 'Under the Skin', whose eerie depth is due in large part to Levi's precise, otherworldly score, for which she won a European Film Award and was nominated for a BAFTA.