Friday, January 13, 2017

Album Review: 'Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land' by The Rentiers

Title:  Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land (Jigsaw Records, BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify)
Artist:  The Rentiers (Official, BandCamp, SoundCloudSpotify)

In just two short years, The Rentiers appeared, knocked out a series of stellar EPs and singles, broke down genre stereotypes and walls, and called it a day.  The brainchild of Plow United and Ex Friend's Joel Tannenbaum, The Rentiers was a "band" that always defied definition by simply being great.  Hosting a revolving set of members (often a slightly different lineup for each release) the band mixed elements of power pop, indie rock, synth pop, and indie pop, with pure punk ethos resulting in a sound that was invigorating, melodic, and unbelievably catchy.  And that's just the music.  Lyrically Tannenbaum is an utter genius.  These songs are clever, poetic stories that are at times literal and at times metaphoric with their sophistication, heart, and nuance.

Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land collects nearly everything the band has recorded including the Here is a List of Things That Exist, Black Metal Yoga, and Amateur Hour EPs, the singles "The Early 2000s," "Don't Go to College," and "Brooklyn's Been Good to Me" plus four previously unreleased songs.  Often anthology's feel like a haphazard collection of songs that don't necessarily go well together or just present the songs in order of release (which in and of itself isn't a bad thing).  In purely fitting Rentier's fashion, Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land does neither of those things.  Instead the record flows like a traditional album, making it feel like a cohesive unit and not a collection spanning material written and recorded over a two year period by various people in multiple locations.  To illustrate this point, the record opens with the uplifting and inspiring anthem ""Hang Out or  Die Trying" which was the closing track on the Amateur Hour EP but works perfectly as the beginning to this collection and as an introduction to this wonderful band.  But because this band has always been defiant in doing their own thing, the last four songs of the record are the first four songs the band released and appear in same order they originally did on the Here is a List of Things That Exist EP.  There is a poetic symmetry in that conclusion, ending things where they began.  

If this really is the end of The Rentiers, then it is a fitting, complementary, and satisfying way to go out.  I have been a fan of this group since the beginning and have eagerly awaited and anticipated each release.  It makes me sad to know that this is the end.  Joel Tannenbaum is a tremendously talented musician and an extremely nice guy whose career I will follow wherever it takes me,  For those who have never heard The Rentiers, Bring Me the Finest World Map Shower Curtain in all the Land is the perfect introduction and conclusion presenting everything that this amazing act had to offer.  This is a band that I am truly going to miss.

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