Rainer Maria Credit: Shawn Brackbill

Rainer Maria have as many lives as a cat. Formed in 1995 in Madison, Wisconsin, the three-piece emerged with a style and energy that situated them comfortably within the ranks of other midwestern emo bands of the day: their sound combined trembling, loosely woven guitars with half-screamed vocals volleyed between bassist Caithlin De Marrais and guitarist Kaia Fischer. But as Ian Cohen wrote in a recent Stereogum interview with the group, when Rainer Maria called it quits in 2006, they did so as a quintessential Brooklyn indie band, successful enough to sell out big clubs and tour full-time. Last month they dropped a reunion album, S/T (Polyvinyl), and neither time nor distance—the band’s members are now spread out across the northeast—has affected their cohesiveness. S/T contains the same cast-iron melodies and soaring spirit that buoyed the band’s previous album, 2006’s Catastrophe Keeps Us Together. It doesn’t hurt that some of these songs build on thoughts the band began thinking years ago. “Hellbore,” for instance, originated from an idea Fischer and drummer William Kuehn toyed with in a 2001 practice session; the song’s cavernous spaces and melodic lunges hark back to Rainer Maria’s past even as they push the group forward.   v