Angels of Destruction – Marah
The conventional wisdom about Marah is that they sound a bit like early Springsteen, and that people such as Nick Hornby and Springsteen himself apparently like them for that reason.
The specific E Street references have faded over time. However, Marah have a knack for writing rockers about as wild and innocent as the shaggy-dog stories of Bruce’s first two albums. Angels of Destruction! diverges from the Boss’s path; rather than making their records more polished and concise as they grow older and more familiar with the studio, Marah have used their resources to amplify the gonzo vibe. Almost every second of this CD is packed with sound; for a band that’s been recording for 10 years, they still have a remarkable ability to convey the feeling of “time ticking away,” to quote one of the CD’s better hooks.
One likely reason for the Springsteen comparison is that the youthful energy comes with a side order of bathos. When a band records a song in 2007 (“Blue But Cool”) with a chord sequence reminiscent of ELO’s “Telephone Line,” there’s some shamelessness going on. Fortunately, the energy and riffs usually make up the difference when the lyrics don’t add enough to our understanding of being young, wired and poor on the East Coast. When you sing “I’m a comet/I’m a flash,” your music had better pack enough punch to back up the bluster, and Marah’s does.
Angels of Destruction! is a dense, raucous, sentimental good time. Springsteen may offer more insightful lyrics, but Marah fills the void for those who find the pressures of adulthood weighing too heavily on the Boss.