Rainer Maria is band that seems to be timeless. Coming from the glory days of emo in the 90s and early 2000s, this band recently came back together to let us relive the days of their music. Having disbanded eleven years ago, we have been without new music for quite too long. However, we have been patient and now their new album S/T has recently debuted, leaving us to listen and ponder over the new songs and tunes.
At first glance, you might recognize that there are only nine songs on this record, which seems like a small amount. If you look more closely, you can also see that the songs are generally longer and more varied, giving good structure. Starting us all of is “Broke Open Love.” It comes in swinging with constant guitar that makes the song, bringing life to the few and repetitive lyrics that are there. Right off the bat we realize that although they are a seasoned band, they haven’t lost their touch in any respect. It isn’t like anything we usually hear nowadays from rock bands, something altogether unique and unlike the electronic alternative bands or heavy metal. Rainer Maria incorporates their old stylings while updating their sound. It appears that while they’ve lost some of their emo, it makes for an even better band rather than detracts.
Ditching the more methodical vocals in the previous song, “Suicides and Lazy Eyes” brings in strong declarations and strength in lead singer Caithlin De Marrais. We hear her distinctive voice with lines like “Let the rest of the world be coarse.” Looking more intensely at the lyrics shows us that they are surprisingly well thought out and descriptive. Often times, the words in music with heavier instruments get lost, leaving us without being drawn to meaning. This is not the case with this album, and we can see this repeatedly throughout the rest of the songs on S/T.
One of the grungier tracks is “Forest Mattress,” where dissonant guitar notes collide with unfaltering falsetto. Although we may be inclined to dislike the verses that include this unusual placement of notes, we soon reach the chorus and everything comes to a resolution. These musicians successfully play off of each other, bouncing back and forth with similar musical lines between one another to ultimately land in a happy place that resides in the chorus. It’s the balance we hear at the end of the song that drives everything home.
To finish everything off right at the end and to bring it home is “Hellebore.” Coming in a little slower than the rest, there are almost lethargic vocals that come off dripping from De Marrais’ mouth. That, combined with prominent drums, makes for a song that feels like it’s come straight from the band’s hey day.
All in all, Rainer Maria came back to the musical scene with the same passion shown before their break up. This album, S/T, displays every aspect that the band had come to be known for. Their emo style, while abating just a tad, was still their within fiery guitar riffs and rocking tunes that were hidden among strong vocals.