Friday, May 17, 2024

Archive Review: Marah's Float Away With the Friday Night Gods (2002)

For its third album, Philly’s favorite sons Marah traveled to Wales to try and find an artistic identity that would distinguish the band from the legion of heartland heroes who have followed in the quarter-century since Springsteen made working class rock cool again. Float Away With the Friday Night Gods proves that you can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy as songwriter David Bielanko uses the same brilliant urban imagery as Springsteen or Joe Grushecky, imbuing his songs with a smoldering passion.

Musically, however, Marah has turned its back on the “young soul rebels” vibe that worked so well on 2000’s Kids In Philly album. Eschewing long time studio foil Paul Smith in favor of producer Owen Morris has resulted in a messy, conflicting mix that robs the band of its soulful intimacy, replacing joyful reckless abandon with a too-bright Britpop-flavored clash of vocals, instruments and production gimmickry. If Kids In Philly served as a giant critical and creative leap forward for Marah, Float Away With the Friday Night Gods represents an artistic backsliding. It’s not that this year’s effort is all that bad an album; when compared to Marah’s previous efforts, however, it’s obvious that the band set the bar too high the last time out. (E Squared/Artemis Records, 2002)

Review originally published by Alt.Culture.Guide™, 2002

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