Riverside - Love, Fear And The Time Machine,
Many, many years ago, I was introduced to Artur Chachlowski by Stu Nicholson, and that friendship has continued to the present day. Artur not only runs the amazing website www.mlwz.pl, but also has his own radio show and has been for me a constant source of amazing music coming out of Poland. He introduced me to the likes of Collage and Quidam, and then one day all he wanted to talk about was this new band who were making huge waves in their own country, Riverside. It is probably safe to say that in the fifteen years since their debut album they have become the most well-known Polish progressive rock band of recent years, and have continued to release albums of great depth and quality.
This 2015 album was always going to create a great deal of intrigue and discussion, as gone were the more metallic forays, as instead they had taken their love of Porcupine Tree and combined it with some very U2-style guitar to produce something that was quite a step away from what they had been doing before. True, there are the odd riffs and menace here and there, but in many ways this is quite different as they take a leaf from the book of Anathema. This is all about confidence, poise, and a much more reflective and emotional take on progressive music. There are times when the guitar production almost makes one think of Steve Hackett, soft and gentle, but whereas Marillion turned gentler yet somehow managed to remove all emotion from their songs, here we have a band that is moving forward in strength. Instantly accessible, it has a way of hanging onto the listener, refusing to let them go and compelling them to listen all the way to the end. I was playing their second album again the other day, 2005’s ‘Second Life Syndrome’, and the same quartet have produced something ten years later that in many ways is quite different, yet is a very logical progression from where they were before. I can listen to this on constant repeat and never tire of it, as there is just so much here to discover and enjoy within the space and layers. Superb.