Nestled inside any other genre, Rainer Maria's caterwauling duets would probably be hung by their britches — but this is American emocore, which necessitates musicians caress while sounding like atonal Wire demos. A tricky business, to be sure, and it's not an envious occupation. Past Worn Searching repeatedly builds on the deception of traditional rows and loud-soft choruses, puncturing holes in transitions, never minding the inclusion of off-key belts and stories of Hepatitis A. This is mostly a neutered trick despite itself. The album never overcomes its usual trappings either in the album's own ingredients — one can see the volume jolts coming a mile away — or the genre itself. In many ways, a beggar's version of the Tiny and Vanessa dynamics in Ultrasound.
Rainer Maria takes a unique approach to traditional emocore on Past Worn Searching, building their frenetic songs from a groundwork of delicate guitars and lovely male/female duet vocals.
Talk about preserving your anonymity. The cover of this CD - some kind of brownish / purpley textured thing. No band name, no album title. On the side of the box, in the tiniest writing ever, these 'minor' details are revealed. Of course, only an emo band would practice such self-effacing / pretentious (depending on your POV) behaviour, and that's what Rainer Maria are.
You bought that Van Pelt album yet? You wanna substitute talky bloke for guy & gal vocals? Vocals that tug at your heart from every direction? You want to make it a little noisier? You got Rainer Maria then. Personal lyrics and melancholy tunes to drag you down, down, should that be what you want. Alternatively, a beautiful noise.
Like the Van Pelt, RM deal mainly in simple, slightly minimal songs, occasionally exploding into sporadic action with bursts of emo-rock. "Half Past April" establishes everything they do in one song. The noisy, shouty vocalled section, against the more subdued, less intrusive bulk of the song.
No bad songs on here, though admittedly once you've honed a style such as this, I expect it'd be pretty hard to mess up, as you can do virtually anything, and so long as it has some structure and ain't 'art', it sounds awesome.
First time I listened to this, it rained. What an emo cliche. I'm going to put it on next time it rains too. Music for the depressed wuss in you. Go on, you know you want to.
Past Worn Searching, Rainer Maria's first album, signaled the beginning of Rainer Maria as a full-time band. Recorded at the sweltering hot, now defunct Ghetto Love studios in Chicago during the summer of 1997, Past Worn Searching and its stripped-down production ushered the full arrival of dueling vocals, sonic excess, and youthful exuberance. That fall, Rainer Maria toured the entire continental U.S. for the first time — more than 50 shows booked by Kuehn himself, including a west coast tour with Braid.