If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry

If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry

5.0 1
by Marah
     
 

On Marah's fifth album, If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry, the group casts aside the big and glossy productions of the last couple records and adopts a more intimate and loose feel. The album was recorded pretty much live in the studio and the sound is stripped down and very immediate. Stripped down but still rife with horns, strings,See more details below

Overview

On Marah's fifth album, If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry, the group casts aside the big and glossy productions of the last couple records and adopts a more intimate and loose feel. The album was recorded pretty much live in the studio and the sound is stripped down and very immediate. Stripped down but still rife with horns, strings, glockenspiels, percussion and handclaps and still filled with the kind of surprises (like the glittery disco beats on "The Hustle" or the Beach Boys-influenced vocal harmonies that begin "The Demon of White Sadness," to name but a couple) that have always helped separate the band from their over-earnest alt-country/Americana competition. Another thing that has always separated them has been David Bielanko's lyrics and vocals, and they are better than ever here. His loopy and wild-eyed vocals deliver his street poet lines with intense beauty throughout. He even restrains himself -- for a change -- on some of the ballads, especially "City of Dreams," on which he sounds almost angelic. The songs are among the band's best and most varied, whether they're rampaging rockers ("Fat Boy" or "Poor People"), wild lyrical flights of fancy ("The Closer"), emotional tours de force ("So What if We're Outta Tune [With the Rest of the World]"), heartbreaking character sketches ("The Dishwasher's Dream") or confessions ("The Apartment"). Every song is a direct punch to the heart, written and played with a fever that only the best rock & roll has. Their focus on the song and the performance, rather than the sound and the production, has proved to be a stroke of genius; the band has never sounded more honest or important. If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry is the kind of record Dylan might make in 2005 if he were still making records as good as Highway 61 Revisited, or the kind of record Springsteen might make if he were updating Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.. Marah will never make the widespread cultural impact of those two artists and this record won't make them rich or famous, but it is a monster rock & roll album that you flat-out need to hear, their best yet. And that is really saying something.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/18/2005
Label:
Yep Roc Records
UPC:
0634457209824
catalogNumber:
2098
Rank:
108154

Related Subjects

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Marah   Primary Artist
Mike Brenner   Bass,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar
Jon Wurster   Drums
Adam Garbinski   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Dave Petersen   Drums,Background Vocals
Tom Psipsikas   Castanets
"Magic" Matt Osiol   Piano
Kirk Henderson   Organ,Bass,Piano,Background Vocals,Mellotron

Technical Credits

Steve Rosenthal   Engineer
Marah   Audio Production
Emily Lazar   Mastering
David Bielanko   Composer
Serge Bielanko   Composer
Matt Boynton   Engineer
Peter Wark   Executive Producer
Kirk Henderson   Engineer

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