Marah made a Christmas album for a number of reasons: (1) To make a Yuletide record we had to record it in the middle of the blistering NYC summer heat. That gave us the excuse to decorate our apartment studio with string lights and plastic snowmen and celebrate Christmas in July too! (2) Really good holiday songs allow decent "liberal" folks to celebrate certain "conservative" values like family, friends, eating dinner together, roasting chestnuts and home fires burning without employing tactics like tightening borders, tax cuts for the elite, veiled racism, and Old Testament brainwashing! (3) A great Noel number is your best shot at being played on the radio! To hear your own Christmas recording in the car on the drive to Grandma's snowy farm would be the absolute bomb! (4) Christmas music makes most people really happy. That's the whole point of music in the first place. So, get A Christmas Kind of Town and get in the spirit! Yep Roc. 2005.
Hark! The Philly Brothers Sing! Introducing a 20-song holiday feast that, while it's as out of right field as Mannheim Steamroller remaking White Light/White Heat
, is the perfunctory accompaniment to your Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis wintertime mash. Prolifically concurring with its fifth record If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry
, Marah integrates E Street soul and 6 Train rock-and-roll into a stew of old-time favorites and newly composed originals, toasting the celebration with friends and family in a loose-knit routine of music and parodies. Centered on their adopted hometown of New York, the Bielanko brothers liken the Big Apple to a "yuletide merry-go-round" in "New York is a Christmas Kind of Town" and offer up "a glass of cheer" in "Holly Jolly Christmas," a chug-a-long number that practically begs for the Pogues
to cover. "Baby It's Cold Outside" is a seductive back-and-forth duet (with guest Christine Smith) and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas" turns into a Peanuts-like sing-a-long, and by New Year's, when your "Auld Lang Syne" is an instrumental Dublin pub romp, you'll thank Marah for making this the most wonderful time of the year. --Scott Holter