Finally. This record has taken forever to actually see the light of day. Rainer Maria is normally consistent (at least that is the way it seemed) with their time between releases. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, Rainer Maria is a three-piece based out of Brooklyn, New York by way of Wisconsin, and they play poppy indie rock. Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is their fifth and latest proper full-length album. It was produced by Malcolm Burn, who has produced Bob Dylan in the past. The production, by the way, is extremely crisp and well done.
Catastrophe Keeps Us Together has several tiers of songs. There are the great ones like "Already Lost", "Life of Leisure", and "Clear and True". There are the good ones like "I'll Make You Mine", "Terrified", "Catastrophe", and "Burn". They also cover a Dylan song as well ("I'll Keep It with Mine"). The rest of the record is okay except for "Cities Above," which could easily have been left off the album. Flat out, "Already Lost" is by far my favorite song on the Catastrophe Keeps Us Together. The melody is awesome. Caithlin De Marrais' vocals are terrific. The chorus has a soaring sound that threatens to sweep the listener up in its pop grandiosity; the hook is intense. There are little things like strings that really add a great atmosphere to track as well. "Life of Leisure" is classic Rainer Maria. The verse is very up beat and gives way to a big, sweeping vocal chorus. The music builds with an anxious tension that only accentuates the effect of the chorus. "Clear and True" is a departure from past songs offered by the band. The acoustic guitar is a bit different for them and gives the song and up beat but reserve and sophisticated feel to it. The vocal arrangement is very light and airy sounding. There are some backing vocals that faintly remind me of a Cranberries record. "I'll Make You Mine" is good and has the possibility of being an absolutely bombastic sounding live song. If it was produced a little louder, it might have that effect on the recording. "Terrified" also has the lighter feel that "Clear and True" has. It is a straight up pop song with lots of little parts like keys and synths that really flesh out the song. "Catastrophe" is the opening track and does a pretty good job of it. It also has that classic Rainer Maria sound. Interestingly enough, it is one of the longest songs on the record. Most of the songs are shorter than what Rainer Maria has come to produce. "Burn" is a deceivingly quiet song with a loud climax.
As a whole, Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is the strongest album for Rainer Maria since Look Now, Look Again. It is solid with almost no filler sounding material (Damn that "Cities Above"). Many of the songs have been part of the band's live set for well over a year and the material really made me excited for this album. It did not disappoint.
7.5 / 10
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Wow. This band changed. A lot. Last I had heard of this band was A Better Version Of Me which I believe was their last full length record. Well something ...
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