BioWhen a band like Marah manages to put together a series of releases all capable of inducing paroxysms of pleasure in jaded music critics, it is tempting - if not inevitable - to repeat the exact same formula. Well, that's not Marah's style. "Most music is a pack of lies," says Marah singer/guitarist/songwriter Dave Bielanko, "I can't honestly believe what I hear on the radio. For many bands, it's just about what rhymes. We've always tried to write songs that you can stand behind. I believe people are smart enough to appreciate it if you make an effort."
Call the group confounding; call them, as some critics have, "the bastard children of Rolling Stones, Counting Crows and Guided By Voices," or the "musical love child" of Van Morrison, Creedence and Bruce Springsteen (The Boss made a guest appearance on their last album!). But every new Marah record is certain to ensure that nobody ever calls them predictable. In 1998, Marah (rhymes with 'hurrah,' translates to 'bitter' and found in the book of Exodus, chapter 15, verse 23 -- if you’re keeping score) released their debut album Let's Cut The Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight, on tiny indie label, Black Dog Records. That record was the calling card of a band taking small steps in pursuit of a big future. Rolling Stone's David Fricke describes it as "what 'Exile on Main Street' would have sounded like on a Folkways Records budget." Marah's second CD, Kids in Philly, was released two years later on E- Squared/Artemis Records to the sort of ecstatic reviews most bands only dream about. Kids invited listeners on a trawl through Philadelphia populated by low-rent hoods more often seen in the pages of Damon Runyon. High Fidelity author Nick Hornby chose "My Heart Is The Bums On The Street" as an essential component of his "ultimate summer-jam compilation" mix tape in New York magazine.
Following their second release, Marah began building on a hard-won foundation of solid local and critical support and embarked on a seemingly endless trek of tour dates which have seen the band galvanized into a must-see live experience. Live reviews of their shows range from the merely ecstatic to the transported as audiences from Kansas City to Stockholm fall in love with rock-and-roll all over again. Given this kind of reception, it would be all too easy for Marah to keep mining the same vein - but they yearn for change. In the past, this yearning has lead Dave and brother Serge so far as to get rid of almost everything they owned, giving up their apartments and even leaving their beloved Philadelphia to find inspiration. "We became so closely associated with the city," Dave explains, "that we just hit the wall creatively. The songs were there, but they just weren't coming together as we were hearing them. Serge and I just looked at each other and said: Let's get out of town, now!" But for fans fearful that new approaches mean the end of Marah as they know and love it, the band says, "You can't take away what we are - you can only bring something else to it. This band has been and always will be a rock & roll band, no matter what, and I think all of our records reflect a broad range of 'rock' influences. You can't be stagnant, you've got to make it interesting, exciting rock & roll - that is the goal with each of our records."