You need to listen to Micachu and the Shapes’ ‘Oh Baby’ before the end of the decade

You need to listen to Micachu and the Shapes’ ‘Oh Baby’ before the end of the decade

Photo: Steve Legere
Words by Augustus Welby

Micachu and the Shapes came along during the wave of fluorescent sweatshirts and peppy indie-pop of the late-‘00s, but they were always outliers. ‘Oh Baby’ comes from the band’s final album before switching their name to Good Sad Happy Bad.

Viewed from afar, the record might seem like an attempt to extinguish any lingering buzz. The clattering textures, presumably captured through a lone, muffled room mic, would send a college-trained audio engineer tumbling from their swivel chair.

Lo-fi production is often romanticised for presenting an organic, unvarnished sound, but ‘Oh Baby’ is purposely bent out of shape. For bandleader Mica Levi – an esteemed soundtrack composer and producer – the sonic experimentalism provides a means for channelling complex emotional states.

‘Oh Baby’ is anchored in a loping drumbeat and earmarked by Levi’s processed lead vocals. You’ll need to strain to understand what she’s saying, but that’s part of what makes ‘Oh Baby’ uniquely affecting.

Life is lived on autopilot much of the time, but many of its most significant moments are those that require us to switch on. ‘Oh Baby’ makes no obvious attempt to woo listeners, but it ignites a genuine love once it has your attention.

Check out more underrated songs from the decade here.

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