Rainer Maria is a different kind of trio. Theirs is the tale of a band starting out in basements and living rooms and arriving in the upstate New York home studio of Grammy Award-winning producer Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop). Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is a collection of the most personal songs Rainer Maria has written to date. And with the way Caithlin De Marrais’ voice, Kyle Fischer’s guitar, and William Kuehn’s drums work so well together, it really is no wonder why they’ve remained inseparable.
Most musicians today leave a line between artist and audience. Rainer Maria ignores this boundary and erases any division between their audience and their heads. This isn’t to say it is perversely intimate, but that they allow you a glimpse into a real heart and mind, not simply the soul they want you to think they have.
That being said, I am always interested to find some rockin’ chicks who are actually good. There are plenty of female acts out there, but some just aren’t pleasant to listen to. Rainer Maria is. Catastrophe Keeps Us Together lives somewhere in the world between loud pop and quite punk, meaning Rainer Maria found their own niche that citizens of both camps can appreciate. Not quite indie, not quite emo — Rainer Maria has a strong voice chronicling a journey through romantic pain with a somewhat optimistic spin. And while the trio finds themselves in their 30’s, their sound is a youthful one that leaves their lyrics easy to identify with.
The first track, “Catastrophe,” explains how catastrophes can unite, making the title of the album clear. “I’ll Make You Mine” is the track that will most likely get the most play, with “Life of Leisure” following behind. And yes, their last track “I’ll Keep It With Mine” is a Bob Dylan cover. A risky move for any band, Rainer Maria pretty much pulls it off. It would have been nice for it to have gone somewhere, as the song waits to take off, but never fully does.
While Catastrophe Keeps Us Together isn’t the same Rainer Maria as their emo past, it certainly shows the hope and potential for their future. Perhaps Rainer Maria is edging their way into a new type of emo, where the broken hearts don’t sink into the depths of despair and instead decide to sing on with a little room for hope.