Angels of Destruction! | Yep Roc
By MATT ASHARE  |  January 14, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
From the banjo picking that opens the album to the jazzy horn section that colors “Can’t Take It with You . . . ” to the barrelhouse pianos, the bluesy harmonicas, and the various bells, shakers, and percussive embellishments woven into the rootsy fabric of Angels of Destruction, Marah often seem on the verge of overdoing it on their sixth album. And that’s before brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko even open their mouths to unburden their souls of the beauty and sadness, horror and hope, despondency and redemption that thread through these 11 tracks. At its heart, Angels is a tribute to the lasting glory of gritty, Stonesy guitars, slashing through the murk of “Coughing Up Blood” or the tension of “Old Time Tickin’ Away,” cutting to the core of the melancholy “Angels on a Passing Train,” or just chugging along with the swing of “Wild West Love Song.” The Bielankos sensed the same darkness on the edge of town that Springsteen discovered in his younger days back when they first emerged as rocking prophets from the streets of Philly. Now firmly settled in Brooklyn, Marah (whose membership changes from album to album) do sound older and wiser. And their songs of experience suggest they spent some time exploring that darkness, only to have found the light on the other side. “Now that we know restlessness, how come we keep finding new ways to smile,” Serge croons on “Blue But Cool.” Or, as the Bielankos nail it on the rousing outro of the title song, “Angels of destruction/The angel of redemption’s got you beat.”

Marah + Adam and Dave’s Bloodline + *AM Stereo | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | January 19 | 617.864.EAST
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