Magik Markers Boss

Somewhere on the way to recording their debut album for Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, Hartford, CT’s Magik Markers all of a sudden transformed from a bunch of unbalanced no wave brats into an articulate troop of pop scientists. It’s as easy as a fairy godmother’s blessing, or just vocalist/bassist Elisa Ambrogio waving her magic wand, and poof, brand new band. And I can’t say I’m disappointed with the extreme makeover. Compared to I Trust My Guitar, Etc, or any of their previous 20 or so CD-R releases, Boss demonstrates the maturity of a band many people would have written off as merely another act for the American noise scene to worship or loathe. Produced by Lee Ranaldo, the album actually begins with dissonant feedback, transitioning into a more conventional yet sleazy rock riff; it’s almost like their rechristening ceremony happened while the tape was rolling. After "Axis Mundi,” it traverses a fairly straight path that doesn’t exactly discard their noisy predisposition. The probing "Pat Garrett” indulges in their sonic debauchery, albeit with more of an interstellar ambience than any sort of grating uproar; it’s no doubt a fix they needed to have. But there are flashes of true clarity in "Empty Bottles,” a rather harmless piano frolic that puts Ambrogio’s vocals in the spotlight to show she’s willing and able to sing like a human being. Who knew Magik Markers could be so beautiful? (Ecstatic Peace)