Magik Markers’ career began with an impressively long and prolific streak, with almost forty releases since their 2002 debut Beep Beep. February 2010’s Volodor Dance, though, was followed up by nearly four years of (no pun intended) radio silence. The band’s lyrics, album titles, and even the name Magik Markers evoke a fun, whimsical refusal to grow up (to say nothing of founding member Leah Quimby’s decision to leave the band and pursue a career in ventriloquism in 2006) but it appears that the break in Magik Markers recording stretch came about partially due to an onslaught of adult realities. The band’s three members scattered, geographically speaking, and members Pete Nolan and John Shaw had children.
In spite of, or more likely because of, the changes that the band has undergone (since their last release), the November 2013 album, Surrender To The Fantasy, is a lavish love letter to the teenage rock and roll dream. Liberated, context-less noise rock, thoroughly distorted and by turns joyous and disillusioned, Surrender sounds like it’s being performed underground, which in fact it was. Much of the recording took place in the basement of guitarist Elisa Ambrogio’s father’s house, returning the band to to the hard, unadorned sound of its earliest efforts. There’s a vulnerability to that unadornedness, courtesy of Ambrogio’s sweetly dissonant voice, which transports standout tracks like “Bonfire” and “Mirrorless” back in time to seventies-era rock recordings.
I wouldn’t call Surrender a nostalgic album, more of an attempt to get back to basics. Tracks that would otherwise be straight noise rock are informed by a droning, generous pace—almost every song breaks the five minute mark—but do away with the flinching self-reflection that often comes along with the introspection and spaciness applied to this record. The last track, “WT” (standing for “White Trash,” presumably) features refreshingly snotty vocals over clanging guitar riffs that aren’t afraid to be ugly, and that zero-fucks-given attitude serves the band well over the course of the album.
Surrender To The Fantasy comes out tomorrow on Drag City in the form of an (imitation) SOLID GOLD USB DRIVE! In the meantime, watch the video for “Mirrorless” here, via Youtube:
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