Marah Kids in Philly (E-Squared)

SXSW Records

Record Reviews

Marah

Kids in Philly (E-Squared)

Marah's E-Squared debut, Kids in Philly, is a crowded affair. Not only is it teeming with textured roots rock, there's loads of other people commingling (spiritually, anyway) with the Philly fourpiece in some downright unconventional combinations. To wit: "Point Breeze" intros like "Free Ride" before transitioning into R.E.M.'s "Pop Song 89" with a "Blinded by the Light" vocal cadence to it. There's an obvious Ronnie Spector homage thrown into the pale soul undertones of "Round Blue Eyes," and "Barstool Boys" sounds like a ripoff of Dan Baird and Rick Richards ripping off Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane. Great job on the tone of that slide, guys. Despite the obvious familiarity that such innocuous pilfering breeds, Kids in Philly still sounds remarkably unlike everything else in the insurgent country pastures. The reasons? The Eastern seaboard ain't Belleville, Illinois, and there's more urban exuberance here than there is rural despondency. Unfortunately, Kids lacks much of the drunken, post-punker-gone-bar-band vibe that pervades the band's live shows, but that's excusable as even live records more often than not fail to recapture the best live bands. To the Twang Trust's credit, it sounds like they didn't even try. They just let the tapes roll while the band let the songs fly. (Thursday, Stubb's, 10pm)

***.5

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