Marah Float Away With the Friday Night Gods

Their press release says that they're "a musical love child of Van Morrison, Springsteen and Creedence." More accurate would be "the freakish offspring of Matthew Sweet and Cee-Cee (Poison) while on a coke binge." On this horribly titled record, Marah play power pop from Philadelphia. Their formula for making their big, big wall of rock pop sound: have lead Serge Bielankos raspingly whine (like Cee-Cee, remember?) some slack jawed and simple one-line chorus about rock god dreams on top of guitar power chords and lots of hand claps. Then repeat. Then repeat again. And again, and again. Sure, repetition of choruses has been a common means to stick a pop tune in people's heads for decades, but it's a fine line between "catchy" and "annoying," and after 50 minutes of hearing so many ill-used handclaps and the same words over and over and over again, sung in that same grating voice, these guys definitely teeter to the wrong side of that line. Also, when Bielankos' nasally voice drills into you (50 gazillion times) that "People of the underground, I've got your number," you can't help but feel a little unnerved, uneasy and just plain sketched out. But apparently they impressed one of their musical "parents" enough to guest on the album; the Boss contributes guitar and backing vocals to "Float Away." (Sony)