Long Knives Drawn (Polyvinyl)
by Tim Den
Don’t believe the haters: Long Knives Drawn might be a departure for Rainer Maria, but it’s far from a disappointment. In fact, I dare say it’s their most cohesive work to date. Now, I know you’re fond of their bookish/whispery past, but – as endearing as they were – a lot of their back catalog suffered from inconsistency. One song might be incredible, but filler surely followed. But not here, my horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing friend. All nine songs on Long Knives Drawn are packed with conviction, from bassist/vocalist Caithlin De Marrais’ confident howl to the abundance of melodic hooks. Drifting guitar noodlings have been traded in for buzzing distortion, fully equipped with huge climaxes and breakdowns (“Mystery and Misery,” “CT Catholic”). This baby will make you sing and jiggle!
The problem is not the band, the problem is you, you nostalgic nerdling. Don’t blame the artist for growing up and moving on, especially when the maturation blossoms into such self-assurance as Long Knives Drawn. There are plenty of other bands who’ve stagnated at Rainer Maria’s humble beginnings. If you want amateur emo bullshit, take your fucking pick. Long Knives Drawn is an unapologetic ROCK record that scores in execution, catchiness, confidence, and big beats. Well done!
(PO Box 7140 Champaign, IL 61826)