Magik Markers – Boss

Ecstatic Peace!

Since landing on planet Earth back in 2001 Magik Markers have released over 27 recordings ranging from limited edition studio LPs to live-only CD-Rs. It’s a daunting body of work to be sure but BOSS — their first mass-produced long-player and most accessible effort to date — is as fine a place to start as any.

Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo handles the production here and the influences of the seminal New York group come through loud and clear. However alongside the oddly tuned guitars and singer Elisa Ambrogio’s Kim Gordan-like vocal tics what’s more interesting is the way she forms detached stream-of-consciousness lyrics in the style of Thurston Moore.

“Axis Mundi” starts the proceedings with a splash of feedback and free-jazz sax squalor before rippling into repetitive riffs and Ambrogio’s hypnotic delivery. “Body Rot” finds Ranaldo joining in on guitar for a swirling two-minute rave-up while “Last of the Lemach Line” is a woozy nine-minute meditation. “Empty Bottles” offer the largest divergence from the band’s traditional sound with a twinkling piano ballad that has been correctly compared to Cat Power while “Taste” channels Patti Smith with its off-kilter rhymes and off-putting imagery.

By the time the banshee-like guitar noises of closer “Circle” have faded out it becomes clear that Magik Markers have changed drastically since 2006’s unhinged I Trust My Guitar Etc . However BOSS also proves that Magik Markers are versatile and that they likely have many more surprises up their sleeves.