t’s been four years since Macha last released a record. And, in the intervening time, trends in indie rock have come and gone. Opener “Forget Tomorrow” acknowledges this by sounding like a Radio 4 C-side, replete with Mike Dykehouse vocals.
Weren’t these the guys that sounded unlike any other band of its ilk, when See It Another Way came out? Weren’t these the guys that incorporated Far Eastern sounds like the gamelan into their sound seamlessly? Yep.
Which makes “Forget Tomorrow” all the more surprising. Where’s the weird? It’s still here, of course. "(Do the) Inevitable", the follow-up to “Forget Tomorrow”, rights the ship by using exotic percussion sounds, and “D-D-D” uses the same sonic template to dizzying effect. But what comes next is indicative of the problem from which Forget Tomorrow suffers.
A formless instrumental, “While the People Sleep” kills the momentum built up by the free-wheeling tracks that come before it. And, along with “Back in Baby’s Arms” and “From the Merak Lounge” serves to cleave the album into four indistinct portions.
For instance, wouldn’t the up-tempo “Smash and Grab” have been better served in the opening salvo of punk-funk that kicks off the disc? Or maybe just left off the disc entirely? And what about “C’mon C’mon Oblivion”? Its backwards melody and delayed climax notwithstanding, it’s kind of a bore, coming after the lush and hypnotic “Paper Tigers”. It’s hard to say, but the album is the worse from the small pockets of continuity that it does attempt because of its larger cohesiveness issues.
But when the actual music is strong, it’s easy to forget. After the group gets their trend-hopping out of the way, the second half of the record ends up being a strong set of songs that remain true to Macha’s avowed experimental tendencies (hammer dulcimer, heavy synths and vibes all making appearances here).
But, in the end, Forget Tomorrow is an uneven record that came out a few years too late. Macha’s talent, in their prime, was a seamless detournement of the tropes that plagued indie rock (staid instrumentation, unwillingness to embrace change). Indie rock caught up (by going back), finally, and now even Macha doesn’t sound so odd after all.