(photo: Senny Mau)
Forming in the late fall of 2014, Renais are a trio from Oakland who play frantic punk that leans toward screamo but also draws heavily on jazz and post-rock. The band includes Rita Leifson, Josh Mendoza, and Thomas Nguyen. Sonically the group feels somewhat like a continuation of Tomm’s work in the now defunct Bay Area arty screamo band Matsuri, which played a really unique brand of genre melding screamy music; their final record Endship has developed a sort of culty appreciation in tight knit online communities of post-hardcore appreciators.
The under three-minute demo Renais released two Fridays ago opens with heavy chords interrupted by mathy arpeggios that reminds me of Japan’s Blue Friend. The second song starts off with similar aggression but drifts into a nostalgic section that explains their bandcamp tag of “screamscape” – big chords and building drums with some soft singing. The songs are punctuated with buried screams, a production technique that works well in this style of music by treating the vocals as another instrument, but they seem so distant here that they lose a bit of their punch. I’m very curious to hear a longer piece of music from these three and think the songs would benefit from gnarlier and more hi-fidelity recordings ala Loma Prieta – something that better captures the intensity of the visceral live show that draws so many to this style of music in the first place. Listen to the songs below and check out the live studio video that includes songs not on the demo.