Fantasy Becomes Reality
In an era when even leftfield indie bands are going for pristine and synthesized songs that move along with metronomic precision, groups like noise-rock band Magik Markers stick out. Sure, there’s technology there– it’s 2013, after all. But on Surrender to the Fantasy, Magik Markers often sound like they are throwing disparate pieces of the “idea of music” into a barrel that is subsequently rolled down a hill at a slow and unassuming rate of speed, resulting in a sometimes discordant lo-fi form of courtship. Yes, it is “noise-rock” that Magik Markers create, but it is much more subtle a form than contemporaries such as Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. (both of which are indeed more click-track pop in their elder years).
“Mirrorless” moves along with the delicate and lazy haze of early Velvet Underground. Barely cognizant clean and fuzzy electric guitars slowly engage in an interplay with each other. The two parts go back and forth over drums that are reduced to a snare so compressed it pops like a soda bottle. The sweet vocals of Elisa Ambrogio ooze along among the parts, coming and going with such frequency as to allow a slow and fuzzy guitar solo to vie for the listener’s attention.
“American Sphinx Face” is the album’s centerpiece, and it throws open the doors on the idea that the spirit of the ’90s is indeed alive on Fantasy. It’s just tempered enough to have a steady groove, but not enough to confine the guitar to anything less than controlled chaos. For a band historically hellbent on creating “non-song” songs, this joins the rest of the album in featuring catchy hooks and singalong melodies in unexpected places.
“Empire Building” is a noisy, effects-laden track. A pronounced drone coalesces around a loose foundation that fluctuates between loud and soft. Meanwhile, Ambrogio’s voice intermittently chimes in as if from another era, courtesy of a transistor radio capable of transmitting sounds across the space-time continuum. The song often comes across like a diabolical soundtrack to an opium den.
Surrender to the Fantasy furthers Magik Markers’ “experimentation” with more straightforward material, even if the group never goes full-bore into that realm. Thankfully, though, it never strays too far into pop.