Philadelphia’s hardest working rock and roll road warriors are back with another admirable effort. The brothers Bielanko (Serge and Dave) and their revolving cast of bandmates have been churning out old fashioned nuggets of rock, soul and whatever else strikes their fancy.
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Philadelphia’s hardest working rock and roll road warriors are back with another admirable effort. The brothers Bielanko (Serge and Dave) and their revolving cast of bandmates have been churning out old fashioned nuggets of rock, soul and whatever else strikes their fancy since they strode on the scene with Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight-released in 1998 by little ol’ Mississippi label Black Dog in 1998. (It was reissued in 2004 by Phidelity Records.)
Crap was a shining debut moment for the band, full of piss ‘n’ vinegar, attitude, unaffected melodies and lyrics that cut to the heart of matters. But it wasn’t fully appreciated, or heard outside of small circles at least, until the Kids in Philly. One guy who did take notice early on was novelist Stephen King-a spare-time music aficionado known for championing such notable tunesmiths as Ryan Adams. (He sported a Marah t-shirt at a TV interview appearance, to boot.) Released in 2000 on now-defunct E-Squared Records (owned by Steve Earle), Kids jumped onto the radar and made some great strides for the band’s buzz. 2002’s Float Away with the Friday Night Gods (Artemis Records), which abandoned the band’s rawness and trademark sound, was a total miss and probably alienated a sizable chunk of fans. But after signing with Yep Roc Records and releasing 20,000 Streets Under the Sky, Marah steered the ship back to square one and reacquainted themselves with what they do best-freely mashing genres and taking names.
So that brings us up to date. Angels of Destruction culls the best moments from all previous albums and funnels them into one artistic collective-an album that’ll make Stephen King, among others, proud. Serge Bielanko steps up with newfound confidence on lead vocal duties for a handful of songs, and he and Dave complement each other’s strengths noticeably well, more than ever before. There’s some spanish, polka and carnival music threaded throughout, and there’s certainly no lack of the band’s stamp of greasy rock and soul. As for a unified statement, Angels is the best slice of Marah since Kids. The live show is what brings it all home though, so don’t miss out. Whether playing for two or 2,000 people, their fevered performance is-consistently-undeniable.