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It’s hard for me to deliver a truly unbiased opinion about the Magik Markers for obvious reasons: they’re too good.
And yet, as shitty as the year 2020 has been for society collectivism, the album 2020 from Magik Markers may be their best, most cohesive musical statement in a mountain of excellent noise, experimental, and rocking releases. From the Henri Rousseau-inspired cover, to the dim, dense music holding out for some poignant, even hopeful lyrics — it’s truly a stunner, and the sort of mood enhancer and mood killer (a double dose) needed at this moment, in this year, and beyond.
Opener “Surf’s Up” is a psychedelic jam trapped inside the doldrums of four walls. It’s plastering the domicile with bright, vibrant paints, pastel wallpaper, and twisted art to stop the gray from completely taking over. “Born Dead” may be the best pop song Magik Markers have ever put down to a music medium. Much like “Surf’s Up,” it presents itself on a beige palette before adding simple, yet comfortable flourishes that make the claustrophobia of our confinement a little less constrictive.
And it’s these surprises that make each Magik Markers release worth seeking out. “You Can Find Me” sounds like an old CDR toss-off, and yet not at all aged or familiar despite its lower fidelity and nod to the band’s past. “Quarry (If You Dive)” is a chill, folksy tune that closes the album. But it seems so oddly deceptively placed after the traditionally taut “CDROM,” which is as classic as the Markers get on/in 2020.
Turns out 2020 — both the year and the album — has some goodness left to spread. Maybe things are turning around, even though the downers of the year may bleed well into the new decade. But art speaks to us in our worst times and challenges us to lift ourselves up, to redefine the surrounding muck into free expression to inspire society. Magik Markers have solidly made their strongest proclamation in 2020 via 2020.
Do your soul a favor: ignore this completely biased commentary and just do the work yourself.
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