Rainer Maria 

Catastrophe Keeps Us Together

Rainer Maria consistently makes albums full of capable, likable songs, and Catastrophe Keeps Us Together is no exception. Caithlin de Marrais' voice still dips from an authoritative shout to a whisper, and the trio rocks forth with energy and passion. But if Rainer Maria truly wants to grow as a band, why not attempt a radical makeover of the sort hinted at on "Cities Above," a haunting waltz that doesn't sound anything like the band's previous work? There is evidence of some growth: "Clear and True" builds into an earnest anthem out of an easy guitar groove, something that would have been unimaginable for the emo/indie-rock group several albums ago. For all the tweaks and improved production, however, much of Catastrophe Keeps Us Together sounds the same as previous albums. You can't ask a band to change its identity, but the talented Rainer Maria has the potential to do much more than what it offers here. 3 stars

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