Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: Marah - Angels of Destruction!

Label: Yep Roc Records

Released: January 8, 2008

I usually listen to music on the cheap stereo in my little Toyota. But as I've listened to Angels of Destruction! over the past few months, I've encountered a problem that I've never, ever had before.

The sound is just too big.

In my book, big sound is a good thing. I complain because Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" wasn't really much of a wall at all, and I get annoyed at all the empty sonic space on albums like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Curve's Doppleganger.

But for some weird reason, Angels of Destruction! kind of freaks me out when I listen to it in the car. I can't explain it. On headphones, the first track, "Coughing Up Blood," sounds great, with the buried layers of rhythmic backing vocals and bells and a harmonica and a bunch of other stuff that I'm too deaf to identify. The song is exciting, and the production is as thick as my fat belly after ten years of being a desk jockey.

But put it in my car, and I get nervous. Tense and nervous, can't relax. It's tough for me to get past the first couple of tracks. Seriously. This review is a month overdue, that's how bad it's been. I've been too nervous to write it. Crazy, crazy Chuck.

The thing is, Angels of Destruction! is awesome. It's not quite as good as 20,000 Streets Under the Sky, but that's one of the best rock albums I've heard in the past few years, and I don't think Marah will ever release another album that connects with me like that one did.

It's still great, though. First of all, there are some incredible words on this album. I hear a line like "Your laughter is my Jesus, cut down from the cross, shaken but alive..." and I'm blown away. I've heard laughter like that, and it's a powerful thing. That's the kind of laughter than inspired me to stop drinking, and could probably inspire me to start again.

Then you have songs like "Blue but Cool," which is one of the best summaries of a stale relationship that I've ever heard. It's the kind of song that makes me want to copy all of the lyrics right here, right on this blog, because I want you to feel what I'm feeling as I listen to it. But you won't feel it, because you're not listening to it. But you should. You should go out right now and sign up for Rhapsody or buy the song on iTunes or listen to the stream on Marah's web site, because it's a good song with really powerful and descriptive words like
"Cowering afraid in the corners of togetherness
look at what we made out of all of our old loneliness
and now that we are one, darling, how come it is we feel more like two than ever before?"
Really, just go take a listen. Or don't, whatever, It's your loss. Obviously, you don't really care for music, do you?

(Is my guilt trip working? Are you listening? I'll give you a minute, and then we'll carry on.)

Okay, welcome back. I've been talking a lot about the lyrics. What about the music, though? Well, it rocks. There's no other way to describe it. It's not super-technical or super-showy or super-rootsy or super-hip, but it certainly is super-good. There's energy in the music. There's heart in the music. There's soul in the music, and not in a "What's the target demographic for the new Anthony Hamilton record?" kind of way. The things I love about rock music? They're pretty much all here.

So my point to all of this is that I think you should give this album a shot. You should listen if you like rock music, or well-written words, or songs that bring their characters to life. Don't worry too much about what Marah sound like, because all that matters is they sound good. They captured something special on Angels of Destruction!. Just listen.

Satriani - 6/10
Zappa - 6/10
Dylan - 10/10
Aretha - 9/10
Overall - 9/10



If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Hell, I'm definitely interested in hearing it!

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review. The album really is freaky at first. I've turned it on for people and watched them be scared, frightened, turn it off. I was definitely scared the first time I heard it, but music like this can save the world. Believe it...

6:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home