Magnetix - "Living in a Box" (Positively Negative)
French duo Magnetix tries to ride the wave being led by Cheveu from the beaches of Normandy to New York, which means another fuzzed out by-the-numbers some-fi project with big ideas, small means and no hope. This particular take on “garage music” reaches beyond just the proto-punk, glam-rock concoction of Detroit then and now to revive a super-polluted surf feel in an attempt to remain “edgy.” But such a gimmicky sound gets real old real fast, which means a sudden and seemingly inexplicable shift into the fast lane that gets heavy and metal out of nowhere. Which also quickly fizzles out, leaving Magnetix at a loss and quickly returning to the familiar, overused and unmemorable garage-pop aesthetic so in vogue today.
And that’s just the opener. There’s still another 11 songs to plod through before Positively Negative comes to an excruciating halt. The real accomplishment here is that the band manages to summarize the entire record in one song – “Living in a Box.” Indecisive, plagiaristic, and manic in all the worst ways, Magnetix is completely transcribed by their influences. It’s an nth generation record of 100% recycled material without any additional value.
The only semblance of an individual voice comes from the songs sung in their native French. “Mort Clinique” just barely escapes the death spiral by hiding behind the language barrier, and in this case, the skuzzy nouvelle vague feel of the whole thing comes together without feeling too belabored. Not that it justifies the rest of this landfill of a record.
I’d say it’s time for today’s garage bands to take out the trash, except it looks like Magnetix has already rifled through it. What’s left is a pastiche of Z-side riffs turned into an also-ran album that may seem to be getting in at the beginning of the end of the lo-fi rehash. For maybe the first time this year, here’s a band that could’ve benefited from being drowned out a little more by its own distortion.