Angels of Destruction! (Yep Roc)

Fans will undoubtedly hail Angels of Destruction! as Marah's best album. It's certainly the band's most accessible record. It's also its most expansive. There's always been an honest theatricality and a colorful, imaginative flair running through Marah's musical stories, but they're taken to another level on Angels of Destruction! The Philadelphia group's sixth album is forged on the back of frontman David Bielanko's newfound sobriety — addressed in terrific tracks like the shambling jazz-blues opener "Coughing Up Blood," the barroom brawler "Old Time Tickin' Away," and the bluegrass rag "Can't Take It With You," which sounds like an Appalachian brass brand covering Kurt Weill. New members Kirk Henderson and Christine Smith add new dimension to Marah's rootsy rock and soul, steering Springsteenian undertones toward the Band's dusty-Americana territory. When it works, like in "Wild West Love Song" or the ambling gospel-folk of "Jesus in the Temple," the results are downright revelatory.

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