365 Days of Songs (2006)
Rainer Maria, “Clear and True”
My favorite song from my favorite Rainer Maria record. (Full disclosure: I came to Rainer Maria late, with Long Knives Drawn, rather than the early records that garnered them their core following. I’m probably in the minority on this one.)
This one is a great study in contrasts. It’s upbeat, even a little jaunty, but the lyrics and keyboards are telling a subtly spooky story; drums and acoustic guitar give a nice, grounded foundation that feedback guitar and ghostly synths can spark off of. I love that the production is layered but not labored; you can tell the band and producer Malcolm Burn knew how to straddle the fine line between keeping things sounding rich without losing liveliness or spontaneity (dig those handclaps in the break before the last chorus).