Monday, November 02, 2009

Music Decade List #22: Marah - If You Didn't Laugh,...You'd Cry (2005)

Marah's two previous albums before this one were hampered by not enough stanout tracks and a glossy production that never seemed to fit the band's more freewheeling tendencies. If You Didn't Laugh,...You'd Cry is a return to a more loose, live sound and it is a fantastic Marah album. Sporting the group's strongest lineup, the album consistently strong, full of maybe the best group of songs the group committed to one album. The strongest point of the album is the variety of songs the album has, from the raucous opener, 'The Closer', to more introspective numbers like 'So What If We're Outta Tune (With the Rest of the World)' to Dylanesque numbers like 'The Dishwasher's Dream.' Dave Bielanko lyrics have always revolved around street life and the assorted people that occupy his worldview and songs like 'Poor People' or the great 'Walt Whitman Bridge' show a more introspective side of songwriting not really seen on Marah's previous albums. Even though the album manages to throw every kind of sound and influence you can conjure up listening to Marah (The Replacements, Springsteen, Dylan), it works because it all sounds infused with an energy that had been missing on something like 20,000 Streets. People looking for something other than energetic, roots based rock & roll may be disappointed in If You Didn't Laugh,...You'd Cry but for Marah fans like myself, it was a big welcome back to the band that exploded out of Kids In Philly (more on that one later).

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