"Fragmented Identity" is the title of the debut album of Daria Leere (ex Monowelt). Initially released as a 5 song EP in digital format in early 2018, acting more like a preview sampler and establishing Leere as a new act, the album was properly released in CD format via Young and Cold Records during the summer, containing 9 songs (plus a bonus track). The album is now released in vinyl format.

Daria Leere ("Leere" meaning "emptiness" in German) manages to evolve Monowelt's sound to something completely different and new: a full electronic synth sound, based on various music styles, combined with multilayered vocal treatments, producing a fresh, powerful album full of energy and emotions, requiring attentive and repetitive listening.

Musically, some songs are minimal synth while others are pure industrial. Emotionally, the whole album has a cold wave atmosphere, giving an impression of sadness, incompleteness and desperation, but at the same time a feeling of total control and self-awareness. Vocally, great detail has been given in vocal tone variations and recordings. Daria speaks, whispers, sings, screams, shouts at different sound volumes in one song, even in different languages, giving an impression of various personalities and characters behind the microphone. Lyrically, songs are performed in English, German and Russian.

Actually, this is the album's main idea (and Leere's personal concept as an artist, as beautifully pointed out by herself while interviewed): The "Fragmented Identity" of a person, who was born and raised in one country and now lives and works in another, trying to communicate in a new language, let alone fit in a different culture, resulting in a person with various fragmented identities, usually using just basic english to make contact and be entertained or amused. A victim of globalisation one might say, otherwise a new privileged breed but with a fragmented identity.

The album starts with "Kirschbluten" ("Cherry blossoms" in English), a perfect bitter-sweet starter, featuring Daria's sensual singing over melodic cold wave synths and stable drum beats. Then comes "Viereck" ("Square" in English) one of the most representative songs of the album, with solid synth sound and deep esoteric lyrics, accompanied with a well-made promotional video, capturing perfectly Leere's artistic concept. Then comes "Rebell", a fast paced song reminiscent of the 80s Neue Deutsche Welle musical style, nicely executed, featuring also guest female vocals. "Moh" incorporates an electronic bass sound, while providing interesting combined double vocal work: Daria's familiar low tone voice over unusual high pitched vocals. "Baustelle" ("Construction site" in English) seems to have emerged from an old Einsturzende Neubauten lost recording: unaligned drum patterns, random backgound noises, unusual vocal treatments, repetitive minimal sounds. A very bold and impressive track, acting as a scary intermission in the middle of the album.

Next comes "Erik Voltage", an electronic twist, a weird song with such hidden energy that will make you dance or simply move your hands or legs to all directions. Then comes "zerbrechlich" ("Fragile" in English), another expressive emotional song based on Daria's personal lyrics and inner thoughts sung in German. Next is "Tod" ("Death" in English), a powerful pompous track featuring guest male vocal narration in Latin language and again a great vocal perfomance by Daria in German and Russian. Finally comes "Gleisdreieck" (actually an existing multi-platform railway station in Berlin) which is the most powerful track of the album, a musical industrial hurricane with nervous stressful singing in Russian. A track I personally find enjoying while driving. The CD version concludes with a bonus track: "Lach, doch!" a slow paced minimal synth track focusing mainly in the lyrics performed in German.

"Fragmented Identity" sounds surprisingly good and substantial, even after repetitive listening. A great selection of songs, making a solid album resembling a personal musical diary of a young woman, or -if you like- a fragmented identity.

Review by Stefanos Stavrides