Before I listen to them, I can tell I’m going to be fond of Rainer. Musical influences they cite include a night-bus journey through South London’s Elephant & Castle (a haunting experience at the best of times). I have hopes that this EP might be the perfect accompaniment to Ben Aaronovitch’s latest Rivers of London novel set in the abaondoned low-rise-strewn cityscape. This minor key musical mishmash hardly disappoints.
Truth be told, there are too many ideas going on in this EP, which was released at the tail end of 2013. And each track is slightly too long (the four tracks weigh in it more than 15 minutes). There are perhaps an albums-worth of influences, styles, tempos and the fusion doesn’t completely gel. Yet I think a surfeit of ideas is a positive sign for the future, and in other respects this is an exceptionally well-produced record.
Each of the songs is a dark slice of urban electronic storytelling. Hope is a lush and beautiful opener. It’s flighty and sinuous and the most uplifting and poppy of the bunch. Contrastingly the second track, Satin, is dark, authoritarian and grimily industrial. It puts me in mind of Robocop and the Stasi headquarters in East Berlin: frightening. And yet in parts it has echoes of that long-neglected classic Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega.
Glass, the third track makes very little sense musically. It’s a bleepy hammer-clash that somehow transforms into dreamy Enya, and finishes up feeling somewhere between Alison Goldfrapp and Florence Welch.
The fourth, Dreams, is a languidly mad lovesong, like something from a fucked-up Human League track. If this all sounds a little esoteric, it is. And yet, Rainer’s quality shines through.
by Rob Finch