Backporch Revolutionbackporchrevolution
Chef Menteur 65
The Answer's In Forgetting

Forgetting review in Offbeat

by Alex Rawls, Offbeat
Jan 2008

It’s easy for space rock bands to fall in love with the technological rush that comes with making a big, ominous sound. But from the opening strummed acoustic guitar chords of “Trebuchet” on The Answer’s in Forgetting, Chef Menteur demonstrates warmth, beauty and perspective. “Trebuchet” may gain a couple of keyboards and a buzzing, e-bowed guitar over its duration, but it also picks up a lovely, melancholy melody. That sense of balance is the key to the album; it’s instrumental, but only two songs stretch out over six minutes, and the set-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-sun instrumentals flow into (or out of) songs built on a clear melody or mood.

Throughout, their attention to texture and movement is central. “Tonalli” features a slide guitar next to an upright piano and a synthesizer that hisses like winter winds. When that idea is played out, the drums become more insistent, an electric guitar starts scraping, and piano pounds harmonic and dissonant notes.

The two big pieces are appropriately cinematic, with the big, aggressive “1491” surging time and again, pushed by a low, fuzzy synthesizer part, and “Goodbye Callisto” is a drone that pulses, gaining and shedding sympathetic vibrations that temporarily take shape as parts before returning to the whrrrrr. Those two tracks loom large, but they don’t define the album. It’s the interplay between short tracks and grand pieces, between the electronic buzz and the melodic fragments that give The Answer’s in Forgetting its personality.