Doing for South Philly what Springsteen did for the Jersey shore (Greetings ... /Wild and Innocent ... ), Marah's second album is an ode to their hometown. But the scruffy, roots rock four-piece, led by brothers David and Serge Bielanko (oozing working-class hero credibility) don't romanticize the city of brotherly love. Rather, the city is in their pores, from the album's string band/Mummer parade instrumentation (banjos and xylophones) to the litany of street names, neighborhoods and famous Philly-ites Bielanko name-checks. It's a stream-of-consciousness, writing-on-a-bar-napkin urban tableau populated by bums, waitresses makin' chump change ("Well, waitress, your tips are heads or tails") and sludgy city rivers that only give up their secrets (bodies, stolen cars, old Christmas trees) when their brown waters overflow.
Marah got legendary hepcat Philly DJ Hy Lit to intro "Christian Street" (celebrating the ethnic diversity of that 'hood) ); there's also a Philly soul-style horn section on the chorus. But the tearjerker is "My Heart is the Bums on the Street," where the dumped narrator walks the city, passing street people and empty schoolyards: "My heart is a newspaper blowin' down the street when it's snowin' and no one's around." The song ends with the realization that "every inch of the city reminds me of you."