Lunatic Soul



by tiesthatbind USER (46 Reviews)
December 7th, 2017 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "You don't talk to me anymore..."

Mariusz Duda has made an intriguing shift in his work over the last few years. Riverside's Love, Fear, and the Time Machine started what at the time seemed like an intriguing new chapter for the band, one that contrasted the darker, more isolated feeling of their earlier work by taking on a more optimistic and hopeful outlook. As Duda soon had to confront personal tragedy in life, both due to the death of guitarist Piotr Grudzinski and then his own father, his work on Lunatic Soul would also be impacted. Rather than returning to a darker sonic template, however, Fractured actually continues the brighter, more hopeful trajectory started on the last Riverside album, making for the most approachable Lunatic Soul album to date.

Where prior Lunatic Soul albums required a bit more patience of the listener, Fractured is much more immediately accessible and rewarding. Although Duda remains as serious as ever in his craft, the album is more uptempo and fun to listen to in ways that previous Lunatic Soul albums never aspired to, with an increased electronic influence that is consistently well-utilized. Opener 'Blood on the Tightrope' is a prime example of this shift in tone, starting with an almost danceable bass groove and later adding synths, piano flourishes, and a hooky, falsetto-laden chorus. 'Anymore' shows off Duda's talent in writing catchy rock songs, featuring poignant, melancholic hooks complemented by an uptempo riff set and another healthy dose of synths. 'Moving On' fully embraces the 80's influence, sounding like something out of a Depeche Mode album in the best possible way. Duda's vocals remain a highlight of any work he does, and Fractured is no exception.

In addition to its melodic strengths, Fractured also continues the trend that Walking on a Flashlight Beam started by incorporating more progressive rock elements into the Lunatic Soul template. This is seen most directly in 'A Thousand Shards of Heaven', the album's grand 12-minute epic that starts as a sweeping ballad and gradually unfolds into a rhythmic instrumental showpiece. 'Red Light Escape' is the album's most engaging track musically, featuring a Riverside-quality instrumental interlude capped off by a magnificent saxophone solo. The songwriting and greater focus on free-flowing instrumental sections make Fractured feel, at the very least, more in the spirit of a Riverside album than previous Lunatic Soul material has been, while remaining sonically distinct from that project. Accordingly, Duda's bass playing is some of the best work of his career, providing the backbone for the album.

Overall, Fractured is easily the best album that Duda has produced so far from the Lunatic Soul project. It's lean, free of filler, and consistently engaging musically. Although it's a shame that much of the inspiration had to come from personal tragedy, it's also inspiring to see Duda's grief processed through his music in a way that makes it feel all the more authentic and approachable. The melancholic nature of his work still remains, but the move toward a more optimistic, hopeful outlook has helped make some of Duda's most inspired work yet, and suggests that he is not slowing down any time soon.

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user ratings (57)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 7th 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, nice review. Great album, but I still don't know how to rate it. I find some of the lyrics too artsy. At least, the music is nice and warm.

December 7th 2017


Last Riverside bored me, and LS has always been kinda bland imo

However, if I can find this, I'll check it out.

Digging: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is

December 7th 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

I was excited to learn that MD has a sideproject, but the Lunatic Soul discog didn't even come close to fulfilling my expectations.

December 7th 2017


Same, it's all a bit too minimal and acoustic sounding for me

December 7th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

You might like this one better. It’s a lot livelier and more accessible than previous Lunatic Soul albums. I liked the other stuff but it was definitely a pretty niche kind of sound.

This one’s a lot more immediate and catchy and has more Riverside-esque proggier elements to it. Here’s a couple of the better tracks for anyone interested:

Red Light Escape:

Moving On:

December 7th 2017


wtf ties I thought you only came for alter bridge

this is a very weird album. I kinda like it, but for some reason I can't seem to get through all of it.

Digging: Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

December 7th 2017


I liked this a lot on first listen. I'm a sucker for MD's voice.

December 8th 2017


Solid review, well said man.
Duda is a damn good composer.

December 8th 2017


Pos'd of course.

December 9th 2017


Great review my man.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

July 20th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Beautiful review. Found myself returning to this. There's some special bass and vocal work on this album. Also absolutely impressed by Duda's drum compositions (for not being a drummer)

February 9th 2019


Album Rating: 3.0

Moving On is so good. That bass melody grooves like a mother fucker

I think bass melodies are Duda's biggest strength, followed by his vocals

Digging: Judas Priest - Firepower

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