When I first heard Marah‘s music, I was surprised I had never heard of the band anywhere. But after spending some time with it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was perfectly fitting. In fact, I could picture them as a traveling bar band in the days before big media, working the towns from saloon to saloon, performing their original material to the bone on the lonely road, and killing it, and getting some peripheral appreciation for it, but still mostly hearing the echos of the drunkards dancing, who just want them to play their particular roots take on the days’ greatest hits. They’re a red-headed stepchild, but worthy of whatever level of cult status they enjoy.
Part of the problem is that their popular/supported era of musical identification has passed them by. They more easily identify with forebearers like the Boss or Seger than anyone else; those who are woefully out of fashion by most indie-identifying music-heads, despite the best efforts of the Arcade Fires and Hold Steadys to make that kind of rootsy, personal-narrative-based music relevant again.
Yes, it’s certainly unfortunate that those who enjoy heartfelt, visceral rock like Marah’s do not control the radio stations or blogs of the nation’s corporate cultural elite, but don’t let their brand of eclectic brilliance pass you by without giving it a listen. I’ve never failed to be impressed on many levels with their songwriting, impeccable production, and ear for wrapping the past into the present with such easy looseness.
With Marah’s latest release, Angels of Destruction, there’s no escaping the sense of bittersweet. In certain songs you can almost taste the joy and sadness of humanity. Themes like the fall from God’s grace and redemption loom large. It’s an exceptionally well-crafted piece of why rock and roll matters; the band’s ability to touch upon the myriad of emotional expressions meets few modern equivalences.
It’s rare to find a band so free of irony and yet so appealing. Do yourself a favor and check out this band. They’ve been around for more than ten years and got all the hype, as happens so often, nearest their inception. And yet, they deserve the appreciation all the more today for making consistently great music over many years, and maybe even getting better with each release.
Full album stream: Marah – Angels of Destruction