Boomkat Product Review:
Having already helped Wooden Wand achieve his most fully realised statement to date on the splendid James & The Quiet, Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! imprint once again allows more heroes of the American underground to flourish under the spotlight of a proper production job. As with the Wooden Wand LP, BOSS benefits from Lee Ranaldo's production expertise and even a touch of his guitar playing. The band (now streamlined to the duo of Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan) can for once be heard with a decent degree of clarity. Having released a slew of on-the-fly, resolutely lo-fi CD-Rs and an impenetrably mucky one-sided LP for Hospital Productions (the utterly filthy Inverted Belgium), comparatively coherent recordings like A Panegyric To The Things I Do Not Understand and the recent Spring Press LP have been all too rare. In this context, BOSS comes as a revelation, presenting the band's stream of consciousness garage punk in its most intelligible format yet. Without compromising an ounce of their ferocity, 'Body Rot' delivers a crisp, articulate distillation of Magik Markers' poetic rock & roll primitivism, with every bent string, every clanging cymbal resounding as clearly as Ambrogio's frenzied exaltations: "Days go by and the black gets bigger / This gun was born a pulled trigger." Unexpected highlights come from tracks that converge on being full-blown ballads (well, in a manner of speaking) the like of which had been hinted at by the freakishly sedate 'Bad Dream' from the Road Pussey CD-R. The surprisingly delicate piano of 'Empty Bottles', complete with a choice glockenspiel solo from Ranaldo, is a real eye-opener, and delving further in you'll even find a revision of the aforementioned Road Pussey standout, 'Bad Dream/Hartford's Beat Suite', a thing of rare, maudlin beauty. Of course, you don't buy Magik Markers albums for the slow jams, and BOSS more than delivers on the noise front. The way these guys dismantle the 'rock band' format inevitably brings to mind mentors Sonic Youth - and that goes far beyond comparisons between Ambrogio's incantations and Kim Gordon's vocal style - both bands succeed at being both literate and primal, and there's undeniably something special about the way Magik Markers manage to sound so utterly far-out without ever scrimping on the sheer urgency and heaviness of their sound. A massive recommendation.