Thursday, November 12, 2009

Album Review- Magik Markers Balf Quarry

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information before or after if needed but will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:

Magik Markers
Balf Quarry
It began on the Magik Markers last album Boss, the duo started moving from pure noise to a bit more malleable rock song structure; noise accentuating rather then overtaking.  That trend continues on Balf Quarry with drummer Peter Nolan and guitarist/vocalist Elisa Ambrogio combining on some deceptively catchy tripped out rockers and sonic fuzz laden laments.   Their lo-fi approach to record making (the group has a slew of CD-R releases) and improv laden live shows comes across on tracks like the piano clanking “Psychosomatic”, the grinding instrumental “The Ricer Car of Dr. Clara Haber” and spastic “The Lighter Side of…Hippies”.

 Lyrically throughout MM focus on idiot’s and hurt, as if a bad break up just went down.  The screeching metal of “Jerks” testifies to this and the GTO driving, neat hair parting, homey’s in “Risperdal” don’t seem to be such great catches either. The pain seeps out in almost torch song fashion, with to much of cliché on, “State Number”, the Markers convey emotion better with offbeat racket, speed and clang.     

The dark marching bruise of “Don’t Talk in You’re Sleep” is the best straight forward song, but the disk closer is even more enchanting.  The 11 minute “Shells” begins with string induced drone and doesn’t appear to be letting up when Elisa drops a monotone vocal on top.  About 5:30 in, a subtle piano progression takes over and the singing becomes beautiful; lyrics of redemption and being born from the shadows enchant.  Yet the trip isn’t over, we are told to “Brace for the Storm” as the strings creep back, the end suffocates while Elisa becomes echoing and more ominous; this is indie rock’s siren song, dragging hipsters to their watery graves, a fantastic track on an engaging album.   
Mp3's, Videos and a few more thoughts after the jump:
Magik Markers MP3 - Don't Talk In Your Sleep

I dig this duo and this album as the 3 and 1/2 stars show, but I also have been loving the noise and the experimental leanings more and more these days, so if you want safe and subtle this is not really the group for you...but they are showing they may be able to tread that path as well.  There is an obvious link to Sonic Youth, but MM can stand on their own.  Check out these videos, and the MP3 if you don't believe me:
Here is a screed against the hippies..."you had the revolution in your head, to bad you couldn't make it out of bed":

Here is the enchanting Shells which I talked about:

How do you feel about this Hartford Duo?

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