It’s entirely fitting that Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo manned the knob for Magik Markers when it came time for them to record their major label debut. There are boundless SY-isms to be found through this disc, from the chaotic stream of drums and noise guitar on “Axis Mundi,” to the abrasiveness of the conflicting rhythms on “Body Rot” and especially in Elisa Ambrogio’s disaffected Kim Gordon sneer. Unfortunately these no wave roots only end up working half of the time, while the sloppiness ends up sounding disingenuous and contrived at others. The band actually manages its most shining moments when they scale back on the art and write some songs, like “Empty Bottles” which does more with a murky piano melody and glockenspiel than the other careening guitar-led sound clashes that make up the rest of the disc. With Sonic Youth still going strong 30 years into their career, the world doesn’t need another sound-a-like and Magik Markers would be best served easing up on the guitar feedback and pre-planned discordance and following a less well-traveled route for experimentation.
Ecstatic Peace!: www.ecstaticpeace.com