Right out of the gate, Micachu and the Shapes’ sophomore album, Never, assaults your ears with the dissonant sounds of glitchy arcade machines, out-of-tune guitars, and humming vacuum cleaners. It’s an audacious and invigorating pop pastiche, like their 2009 debut, Jewellery, and they’ve duplicated a lot of what made that album so memorable.
But even three years later, Micachu remains one of the most refreshing and transgressive acts you’re likely to hear anywhere. Never is completely, blissfully crackers, and its sound is still a very acquired taste. Almost none of the 14 twitchy tracks here last much longer than two minutes, and it’s not necessarily an album you can just throw on and instantly vibe to (someone in the room will probably hate it). Such brazen music requires a few extra listens and an equally adventurous frame of mind.
Playlist picks: “Easy,” “Heaven,” “Nothing”