ARTIST: LACKLUSTRE MIRROR
TITLE: “THE BOOK OF THE SHATTERED BONDS”
CATALOGUE#: SPR 033
FORMAT: CD, jewel case
RELEASE DATE: 02.2007
OFFICIAL SITE: http://lacklustre-mirror.net/
Chapter 1. Dark Water
01. No Escape From Myself
02. Seven Gates
03. A Voice from the Choir (Ãîëîñ èç Õîðà)
04. Dark Water (Ò¸ìíàÿ Âîäà)
05. The Beginning
Chapter 2. Shattered Bonds
07. Mother is Going Home
08. Silent Heavens
08. The Comet
10. Easy Living?
13. Empress Arriving
14. Road To Infinity
15. Wrong Number
16. Saint Elmo's Fires
18. Nightmare Rendering
19. A Tragedy About Return to Hell
21. Dark Water feat. Marea Internum
Started in 1998 Lacklustre Mirror band had always been a non-commercial project, performing the music its members define as 'dark art rock'; the word 'dark' doesn't mean there is any relation to 'dark rock' itself, but the band's music is indeed gloomy and dark in its mood and atmosphere. Also there are many elements from the styles regarded to as belonging to 'dark scene' - ethereal, darkwave, dark ambient and, especially, neoclassic.
Such eclecticism is on of the most notable features of the bands debut album The Book of the Shattered Bonds, recently released by label. This album contains most of the earlier songs, written between 1998 and 2005.
"The Book..." had been recorded only by three people helped by sound engineer Michael 'Mikelair' Maximov: Marea Internum - vocals, b. - keys, vox, drums prog., Celestial Air - guitar, bass, vocals.
Soon after the album was ready, Celestial Air decided to leave to concentrate on the other project, Lacklustre Mirror's keyboardist b. also is involwed with - Children of the Gun. He was soon replaced with COTG's frontman ScHADE. Currently a new, live-oriented lineup is formed. The band has also started recording its second album - 'Forgotten Songs', a direct sequel to 'The Book of the Shattered Bonds'.
I could be hopelessly wrong but I think in the case of former communist countries where music was driven underground the artistic ethos is deeper, and rigid scene-adherence is of less importance, leading to musicians working together for the best interests of their music, allowing a wider set of influences and confluences to intermingle, seeing dark sounds tingle enticingly. Lacklustre Mirror certainly bundle together noir elements form Goth to Indie with neo-classical sound sofa modern, filmic sensitivity which makes them accessible to all, and very enigmatic, as you admire the openness, yet can’t quite place it at the same time because it isn’t what we’re used to. That’s what makes it so exciting.
There’s three of them, with Marea Internum on vocals, Celestial Air on vocals, guitar and bass and ‘b.’ on keyboards, vocals and drum programming. Lyrically they’re certainly odd, speaking of mystic portals, or times governed by comets, personal demons and a lot of ice-bound imagery of the frozen variety. Musically, they’re richly varied, with an icy glitter atop any sombre underlay.
The album is divided into two chapters. Chapter 1 (Dark Water) starts easily with ‘No Escape From Myself’ powerful; moving piano with backing vocals like a synth haze, and ‘Seven Gates’ somehow grand for all its modest outlay of gloomily drowsy keyboards and sonorous singing, with a slowly burning build and dramatic close. ‘A Voice From The Choir’ is more strident, chiming bells and choppier keys, ‘Dark Water’ equally vibrant, coolly patrolling darkly turbulent emotional territory with beautifully stirring piano, and ‘The Beginning’ sustaining that confident miasma.
Chapter 2 (Shattered Bonds) carries on. I know not what the story holds, it’s just big, bold compositional sensurround. ‘Forgive!’ has a forlorn wind and creepier opulence, ‘Mother Is Going Home’ is folkier, the acoustic sweetness making things lighter, close to the Ataraxia world. ‘Silent Heavens’ is a sliver leading into ‘The Comet’ with a further shift into airy indie strolling, keyboards and guitar positively calm, female vocals perkily trilling as the widdly guitar and suddenly brisk pace makes it quite europop, like a downbeat Cardigans, which is weird!
‘Easy Living?’ gives us a jaunty Glen Miller sample, for no known reason then slows to a distant keyboard and phone in the slurred ‘Psycho’ which goes berserk, curdled male vocals snarling in heated synth pomp. ‘Shattered’ is another moody slice of temporal ambient, a similarly brief ‘Empress Arriving’ gloomier whereupon ‘Road To Infinity’ has piano and synth uniting to becomes uplifting and glassy behind the floaty female outpouring, taking them in a formal ethereal pop direction, darting and flirting and finally, shockingly, trundling about like something from Jeff Wayne’s past! I kept expecting Tripods to appear outside my window – and I was ready for them.
‘Wrong Number’ is another wispy nothing, leading into the disturbing ‘Saint Elmo’s Fires’, where gritty, gurgling riffing spews over pretty keyboards, male vocals like Falco gone renegade. ‘Control’ is a sampled haze leading into ‘Nightmare Rendering’ with bubbly synth and a tenser atmosphere, hinting at some urgent rocky but shape-shifting into piquant indie-noir, the introspective ‘A Tragedy About Return To Hell’ a curious maudlin ballad with pained male vocals and inflated regret, as we trail off with the tiny ‘Hope’ but there’s an extra in a twirled ‘Dark Water’ with Marea at the vocal helm.
An unusual album then, not as ravishing as I was expecting but frequently beautiful and deceptively tender, because it keeps coming around and around and dragging me in. The sort of album which won’t date but will remain one you can always immerse yourself in.
1998 - band founded.
1999-2000 - first demo 'Dark Water'. Initially the songs had been composed for b.'s solo project; that's when the name Lacklustre Mirror appeared.
2001 - first performance, May 27th, 2001, Tochka club, Moscow.
2003 - second demo - The Book of the Shattered Bounds, recorded by the band together this time; Lacklustre Mirror's keyboardist and guitarist join Children of the Gun band.
2004 - first "official" release of Lacklustre Mirror. V/A Colours of Black contains 'Mother is Going Home' (see "echoes").
2005 - Lacklustre Mirror starts recording its first album. 'Decembered' project is launched.
2006 - V/A Colours of Black 2 by Shadowplay Release contains tracks from all three 'affiliated' projects, - Children of the Gun, Lacklustre Mirror, and Decembered. A track by Lacklustre Mirror had also made its way into V/A 'Influence', among the songs by Ataraxia, Moon Far Away, Endraum, etc. (see echoes). Lacklustre Mirror finished recording its first full-time album.
2007 - Shadowplay Records starts selling 'The Book of the Shattered Bonds', a debut two-part album. The band starts recording its second CD - 'Forgotten Songs'.
"Ò¸ìíàÿ Âîäà" demo, self-release 2000
"The Book of Shattered Bounds" demo, self-release 2003
"The Book of The Shattered Bonds", Shadowplay Release 2007
V/A "Colours of Black: Russian dark scene Compilation" track: "Mother is Going Home" Shadowplay Release, 2004
V/A "Free!Music" (a bonus CD to ALT Linux 2.4 Master and other ALT Linux software packages.) track: "Away!" Free!Music archives, 2004
V/A "Colours of Black: Russian dark scene Compilation vol.2" track: "Golos iz Hora" Shadowplay Release, 2006
V/A "Influence" track: "Dark Water feat. Marea Internum" Shadowplay Release, 2006