Marah Breaking Out

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Set List

Songs played by Marah on 'World Cafe':

  • "City of Dreams"
  • "The Apartment"
  • "Walt Whitman Bridge"
  • "Sooner or Later"

Dave and Serge Bielanko are looking for a breakout. Their band, Marah, may find it with If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry.

After years in Philadelphia, Marah has relocated to New York.

After years in Philadelphia, Marah has relocated to New York. hide caption

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The record, the group's fifth, comes after a relocation to New York City from their beloved Philadelphia. Their ability to tell stories spawned on the city's grimy streets has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen's approach to New Jersey.

Several of the songs on If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry were recorded in one take; all of them avoid the overproduction that often gets in the way of capturing a band's style.

It's that style — and Marah's energetic live shows — that have won them accolades, ever since the 1998 release of Let's Cut the Crap And Hook Up Later On Tonight. Still, many listeners had no idea who Marah was — or what their music sounded like.

Increasingly, there are signs that Marah's days of obscurity are over: The band has jammed with Springsteen, and their fans include novelist and erstwhile musician Stephen King as well as the music-scene chronicler Nick Hornby.

This interview originally aired on Jan. 19, 2006.

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