Thursday, 26 February 2009

Magik Markers - Balf Quarry (Drag City 2009)

‘Balf Quarry’, the new album from Magik Markers is melancholy weeping with melody and soul, yet tinged with heartache and soaked with tears. It’s a discordant paean of the heart, glitching through moods and jerking in an out of fuzz like only Sonic Youth would dare to do. Opener ‘Risperdal’ sounds like it should be an explosion; instead, a slow distorted androngynous quietly menaces, soundtracking a new Tarantino Grindhouse film, it is all embittered passion and spit and bile flowing up through the pores and leaking all over the straining guitars, desperately duelling with each other, trying to gain the upper hand. ‘Don’t Talk in Your Sleep’ captures that menace with an eerie almost disturbing obsession evolves over a slow penetrative bassline and incongruous wah-wah. This is menace and eeriness and complete obsession, maniacal love and passion gone wrong. Then just as you feel like you’ve wandered into a creaky haunting house, ‘Jerks’ explodes in the stereo, drenched with fuzz and some clashing booming drum roles. Singer, Elisa, finds her inner Patti Smith, screaming and wailing her way through 2 minutes of spasmodic jittery loud brash punk. Some off-kilter guitar and electro glitch-sampling lead us through ‘Psychosomatic’ and ‘7/23’, both more ballady and yearning for some peace to reach the soul. The second half of the album is more sombre and experimental as standard song structures disappear and Elisa becomes a stoned siren torch singer, left alone in a house, by candlewind, slowly driven insane by the rumble of the piano and occasional solitude of the electronic drums that veer in and out of our ears, flanging from side to side. ‘The Lighter Side of Hippies’ returns her to Patti Smith banshee territory shouting and attacking with power guitars behind her. This album manages to evoke such distinct moods and landscapes, it is filmic in its ambition, somewhere like a Sonic Youth journey, never settling for standard song structures or moods, always evolving and changing up its styles, always interesting and aching with pain and hurt and loneliness, desperately seeking a companion who has the guts to try and handle this raw shit.


No comments: