Perhaps in the spirit of Lilâ€™ Wayneâ€™s admonishments to â€œplease say the baby,â€ Marahâ€™s latest record demands your attention by not just telling you its nameâ€”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. Iâ€™ve always liked about half a Marah album, but by the time I get to the midway point Iâ€™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 theyâ€™re still not breaking any new ground, this album is the best one so far to communicate the sheer joy of their live shows.
â€œAngels on a Passing Trainâ€ is almost, dare I say it, a beautiful song from a band not typically known for their sensitivity. â€œOld Time Tickinâ€™ Awayâ€ successfully brings soul into the act without pretension.
But the best news is new-to-the-band keyboardist Christine Smith. She refreshes the bandâ€™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, “Wildernessâ€â€”the absolute opposite of this roadhouse bandâ€™s most successful songs. It seems Marah is willing to stop being so derivative and start making music of itâ€™s very own. Often when a band tried to break new ground and change into something bigger than it was the results are spottyâ€”but â€œAngels of Destruction!â€ is anything but that. Itâ€™s Marahâ€™s most consistent and most enjoyable album yet.