Pink Floyd meet Brian Eno meet Nine Inch Nails meet world music… if this isn’t enough for you to rush and pre-order Lunatic Soul‘s upcoming album, then I’m not sure I can be of any help. For those unfamiliar with the name, Lunatic Soul is a side project by Polish progressive rock band Riverside‘s bassist and singer Mariusz Duda.
The sound of an agitated sea opens Walking On A Flashlight Beam, simply one of the most compact and substantial albums I’ve heard in the last 10 years. The gloomy atmospheres of a cold Warsaw ooze from the first notes of 8-minute track Shutting Out The Sun, foretelling a mood that is going to haunt you for the rest of the album.
Duda’s voice slightly reminding of A-ah’s Morten Harket warm evocative vocals, the second track, Cold, starts in a new-age mood only to climax in the last minute to a cascade of hypnotic frantic electronic rhythms. The song is a warm-up to one of the best tracks on the album, 8.42-minute Gutter, a perfect combination of melody and tribal beats where eastern-Europe electronic distortions contrast and match the warmth of exotic acoustic guitars.
The short interlude Stars Sellotaped is almost a homage to J. Michel Jarre’s Oxygen, before the entrancing eerie beginning of The Fear Within, a psychiatric journey through the aisles of a soul that sounds tormented by repetitiveness and creepy sighs.
Treehouse is maybe the most “conventional” song on the album, for structure, length and melodies; it could as well be a song on a Riverside album. It also represents the lightest moment of the whole CD, just before it’s time to plunge ourselves in what sounds like an epic 12-minute scene of a grand battle from a history movie: Pygmalion’s Ladder, another of my all-time favourites, has a Middle-Eastern flavour all over it, alternating sweet lullabies to heavy metal marches, distorted bass guitars and very dark atmospheres.
The last two tracks of the album, Sky Drawn In Cryon and the title-track are the most electronic on the whole album, reminding a lot of the latest Depeche Mode with a slightly more choral mood to it. Duda’s ability as a bassist adds an extremely pleasurable rhythmic sense to most of the songs, and it’s safe to say that if Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Klaus Schulz and other innovators hadn’t invented almost everything that is part of music as we know it today, I could have easily scored this album a clean 10/10.
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