Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Forget Tomorrow - (2004)

Four years since their last release — the wonderful collaboration Macha Loved Bedhead — and five years after their last proper album, See It Another Way, came out, Macha returned with Forget Tomorrow. The band attempts to make up for lost time by incorporating the synth pop and punk-funk trends of the early 2000s into the fusion of indie rock and pan-cultural music that made the band so distinctive-sounding in the '90s. However, these nods to recent and current musical fads end up detracting from Macha's sound as often as they enhance it; "Forget Tomorrow" itself borrows from both dream pop and synth pop, but sounds forced and hollow, especially compared to artists like Dykehouse, whose Midrange treads similar ground with more vitality and imagination. "(Do the) Inevitable"'s punk-funk vamps work a little better with Macha's already established aesthetic, allowing the band to indulge its fondness for exotic percussion in a way that's new for them. Forget Tomorrow is also hampered by several interludes, like "While the People Sleep" and "D-D-D," that sound unfinished and neither tie the album together nor embellish it. Thankfully, the album gets weirder and better as it progresses, with tracks like "Paper Tiger" and "Calming Passengers" offering a happy medium between the extremes of their new and old sounds. "Now Disappearing" is a particular highlight, creating a lovely and slightly unreal atmosphere out of synths, hammered dulcimer, and what sounds like a little girl singing backward. The gorgeous Asian strings and gamelan underpinnings of "Sub II" make it another standout track; even if its guitars are a little overblown, it's still more artful than the first half of Forget Tomorrow might suggest. Likewise, "No Surprise Party" closes the album much more successfully than it begins: despite the slightly cheesy phased vocals, it's an unusual mix of kinetic basslines, fireworks, and shimmering Asian instrumentation. Still, it's not really surprising that the more unusual moments on Forget Tomorrow are among the album's best, since Macha's uniquely inclusive perspective was a big part of what made their earlier albums so good. Despite its flaws, Forget Tomorrow has enough beauty and creativity to suggest that Macha's best music may still be ahead of the band. (

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