Perhaps in the spirit of Lil’ Wayne’s admonishments to “please say the baby,” Marah’s latest record demands your attention by not just telling you its name—but exclaiming it! Still noticeably influenced by old-time rock and rollers like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen, Marah offers another collection of bluesy bar guitar barnburners. I’ve always liked about half a Marah album, but by the time I get to the midway point I’m often ready to change it. This latest release still suffers from a little of the awkward lyricism in that marks many of their songs, but on the whole it hangs together a lot better than any of their earliest efforts. The songs offer enough change from track to track to keep from descending into predictability and, although they’re still not breaking any new ground, this album is the best one so far to communicate the sheer joy of their live shows.
“Angels on a Passing Train” is almost, dare I say it, a beautiful song from a band not typically known for their sensitivity. “Old Time Tickin’ Away” successfully brings soul into the act without pretension.
But the best news is new-to-the-band keyboardist Christine Smith. She refreshes the band’s overall sound on songs like “Wild West Love Song” and “Jesus in the Temple.” She even manages to lead the band through a nice 10-minute experimental epic titled, “Wilderness”—the absolute opposite of this roadhouse band’s most successful songs. It seems Marah is willing to stop being so derivative and start making music of it’s very own. Often when a band tried to break new ground and change into something bigger than it was the results are spotty—but “Angels of Destruction!” is anything but that. It’s Marah’s most consistent and most enjoyable album yet.