For better or worse, the music world has been experiencing a resurgence in ’80s-styled synth pop, thanks in part to the lasting appeal of bands like Depeche Mode and the rise of newer acts such as The Faint. Though neither rookies nor merely synth pop, Macha can be counted among those that have emerged in the last decade to take the post-punk, modern rock sound to new levels.
On their third release, Forget Tomorrow, Macha continues to push the envelope with the formula that led to the college radio success of both its self-titled debut and follow-up album See It Another Way. Once again, the trio relies on a distinctive blend of Euro-pop sensibilities and Eastern instrumentation to paint each track with a soundscape that would fall flat with just synths and beats alone. Not what you’d expect out of Athens, Georgia, but it’s a winning combination just the same.
At times akin to New Order, as with the opening title track, Macha incites the appeal of other long-ago acts, including everyone from Duran Duran and INXS (check out “(Do The) Inevitable”) to Pink Floyd (“Cmon Cmon Oblivion”). Forget Tomorrow covers quite a bit of ground without trying too hard to do too much, even finding time to break up the pace with its Orb-tinged orchestration “Now Disappearing,” which substitutes Rickie Lee Jones with the guest vocal work of Imas.
Should Macha endeavor to build on its underground following, a more populist nod is likely in order, as Forget Tomorrow is occasionally guilty of following the group’s formula too strictly, and thus not primed for broad indie support. Yet to put up borders will most assuredly yield a more sterile sound that is decidedly un-Macha. It’s the type of dilemma that most bands ignore, and thankfully for fans, Macha seems concerned with extending only its musical horizons.