Vera : Lunatic Soul, the side project of Riverside’s bassist and vocalist Mariusz Duda, brings out its fifth studio album, called ‘Fractured’. Usually side projects are brought into being to experiment with different musical directions and it is rare that it is better than the main band we know from the artist. We really respect this outlet from Duda, since it is a catharsis to ventilate all his sadness, grief and anger after the death of Riverside’s guitarist Piotr and all the troubles he had to face during recent years.
Consequently it is a very genuine album and it really moves you when listening to his voice and the lyrics. The only ‘problem’ is that this happens on a bed of electro sounds, ambient, soundscapes and distinguished rhythms. He mentions to be influenced by artists like Massive Attack, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel and David Sylvain. It is quite an estranging record. Opener ‘Blood On The Tightrope’ gives us sounds like a drop of water on a hot tin plate, computerized vocals, loops, a very dry drum sound and piano. Even if the lyrics of a song like ‘Anymore’ go straight to your heart, the music creates a kind of distance. It is arty-farty and sophisticated . In ‘Crumbling Teeth And The Owl Eyes’ and ‘A Thousand Shards From Heaven’ any orchestration is added, conducted by Michal Mierzejewski. In some of the songs we hear saxophone (Marcin Odyniec). The record flows like a peaceful brooklet, only when he sings you hear a glimpse of the magic of this artist. In this respect there are similarities with the solo albums of Steven Wilson. A bit overrated, while we hear quite simple pop songs or mostly a style that does not appeal so much to us as the one from respectively Riverside or Porcupine Tree in the past. In despite of all the talent, I am not flabbergasted by it, but that might be a matter of taste.