When the first track off Forget Tomorrow, the third proper full-length from Athens, Ga.-based Macha, played over my speakers, I feared it was just another '80s revival album. The latest Maybelline lipstick commercial with its barrage of bright pink and purple hues had me hiding behind my couch in fear. "Oh my god," I said. "Is this New Order covering Iggy Pop?" But the rest of Forget Tomorrow doesn't even have a glitch of legwarmers or teased hair in its sound.
Genre mixing often has uninspiring results, but the band's talent and pan-cultural influences yield a soulful and intriguing tone. The East-meets-West drone-rock composition in itself isn't as interesting as the instruments used to make it. Macha has a strong affinity for Eastern instruments, particularly those influenced by the gamelan instruments of Java and Bali. That makes this record fluid and delicate and fragile, calling to mind Sigur Ros.
The foursome fuses world music with its American indie-rock roots. Macha is headed by shoegazing brothers Joshua and Mischo McKay, whose early-2002 side project Seaworthy had a quieter and less abrasive electronic feel than what's on Forget Tomorrow. Thankfully, Seaworthy's sound has nary a presence on Forget Tomorrow, the band's follow up to its 1999 triumph, See It Another Way.
Macha means "fun" in Hindi. On this album, the band shows its moments of smart humor. Often compared to Apples in Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control and Stereolab, Macha created a coherent, melodic sound that blends Western and Eastern influences. The retro-sounding title track is the album's only radio-friendly song, but post-rock geeks will appreciate that the other songs sway toward a post-rock experimental journey that can put you in an exotic atmosphere.