Rainer Maria

Catastrophe Keeps Us Together (Grunion)

May 10, 2006 at 4:00 am
On their latest release, Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, gone is the Rainer Maria of yore, whose goosepimpling sounds were strident and unyielding. In their place is a more mindful effort, with radio-friendly expression and polished repeats. The upbeat "Catastrophe" finds frontwoman Caithlin De Marrais doing her best Jenny Lewis impersonation, and by "Life of Leisure," her bass (along with William Kuehn's drumming) is evoking Placebo. The undisputed gem of the album, "I'll Make You Mine," rocks more like their past albums — solemn singing and relentless percussion in full effect — until "Southpaw" signals Catastrophe's denouement, and the quiet, Dylan-writ "I'll Keep It with Mine" bobs it into the night. Rainer Maria usually go out with a bang; this time, they go out with a bow. And while the exodus is certainly quieter, it remains as poignant as always.