By Paul McAleer
When bands reunite for a “comeback” album, the end result is often shallow compared to their earlier work, grasping at former greatness to no avail. Life will take unused passion and ruin it, chewing it up and regurgitating an uninspired mess in its place. The new Rainer Maria record proves otherwise, establishing the urgency of an origin story, a youthful rock band with genuine enthusiasm and emotion frothing from the mouth.
Rainer Maria started out in 1995, becoming an influential emo band until their hiatus in 2006. With dual vocalists singing their hearts out over pounding, guitar-driven melodies, the band’s earlier work is raw in every sense of the word. Although the production and mixing of S/T sounds refined and clean compared to what we’re used to, Rainer Maria is still jagged and imperfect, bleeding beauty louder than ever before.
Caithlin De Marrais handles the majority of vocal duties, howling out resentful lyrics over slower and frantic moments alike. The three band members are synched up throughout the entire project, combining for an explosive sound ready for a stadium. Tonally, the album is cohesive, leaving a small desire for the band to branch out, but it is also dense with intricacy demanding more than one or two listens.
S/T feels like a natural progression of Rainer Maria’s 2006 Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, erasing the time between and preparing us for whatever comes next.Polyvinyl Records, Rainer Maria, Record Review, S/T