Feel the Crayon
o, which is it: Old wine, new bottle, or new wine, old bottle? Which is to say there’s either a big fucking groan gushing from the throat, or a fist in the air for what some may think to be the beginning of a short and unsweetened rant set up only to call the Markers on their “shit.” Hate to disappoint, but this promises to be neither, really.
Working from reverse order, the Markers’ “shit” is the best “thing” about them: Handing your guitar off to an unknown audience member to be chewed, clawed, and/or violently cuddled is not only bold; it’s one of those strange moments where demarcation between band and audience dissolves. Those in attendance are either hoping Elisa will ply her axe out of “unable” hands, or at least become visible again: The stage is where she belongs; when on the floor with the other folk, one starts to feel as if something’s expected from oneself, as if the performance is suddenly being pulled from the pores. And being put in the spotlight’s fullmoon wattage is never really a comfortable locus, even if one truly believes to have something to say/contribute.
“Shit” is also that trance like glossolalia gurgle of verbiage that never ceases to run rawly out of Elisa’s orifice in a rude and crude manner not unlike the endless pea soup puke that piled onto Reagan’s bed pillows in Blatty’s Exorcist. No special FX needed, though: Elisa Ambrogio is not fucking putting us on. There are no poses or tropes or trunk’d rocker cliché being culled from the performance dustbin. There’s urgency and abandon and sexuality. There’s blood and moaning and screaming, too. Onstage, the Markers wax veritable voodoo, giving into all the invisible stimuli that swirl around our puffy bodies every single day of the regular routine. Pete’s drum bashing and Leah’s bass blooming awkwardly interact; like an estranged married couple they creep off to their separate safe places in the prefab home. Vocals are there to berate and befriend. For every “Fuck You,” there’s a “My Sweet” that softens up the moment like a brick reshaping a loaf of Colonial White.
The other side of the equation is a pompous palimpsest. This is the scratch pad where the opposition makes cracks about the Markers’ apparent lack of instrumental proficiency. This is where they talk about how anyone can do this; there a billion fuckin’ bands like this; what makes them important, relevant, worth one’s while? The sad truth is that this argument can be painted onto a whole host of rock star facades. Whether or not the hue starts to crack and chip is entirely left up to you: Feel the Crayon may not be as solid an effort as say I Trust My Guitar, etc., but any three people on the planet provoking the populace to ask these types of questions is fighting the good goddamn fight in my opinion. If there are a few clunkers along the way, well, that’s only to keep one’s ears on their toes—which is basically the point of all truly “original” music. Agree to disagree.
Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2005-07-26