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Lunatic Soul - Walking On A Flashlight Beam CD (album) cover

WALKING ON A FLASHLIGHT BEAM

Lunatic Soul

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 343 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
2 stars I was quite surprised at the palpable excitement I felt as I opened this album. I am equally surprised at my dramatic feelings of disappointment as I listened--as each song failed to meet my simple expectations: that Lunatic Soul's fourth album continue to show the signs of growth as the previous three had adequately done. Mariuz Duda's excellent and gifted voice isn't even put to good use until the third song!

1. "Shutting Out The Sun" (8:39) A lot of scratchy old-sounding samples and sounds drawn out offer an overly long development. The final 20 seconds are the best part! (7/10)

2. "Cold" (6:58) again I am disappointed with all of the old samples--including the rhythm box beat. Sounds like an early Kraftwerk song taken over by Alan Parsons Project. (7/10)

3. "Gutter" (8:42) the baseline bass riff is nice though it feels borrowed from a RIVERSIDE song. Awesome work in the fifth minute! And finally we get to hear the full power and talent of Mariuz Duda's voice! And I love the late entry of the keyboard wash at the 7:00 mark. (Why must Mariuz wait to the end of the songs to amp things up?!) (9/10)

4. "Stars Sellotaped" (1:34) is a very cute little spacey "outtake." More of this! (9/10)

5. "The Fear Within" (7:10) is an instrumental based on a simple and repetitive weave of a variety of tuned percussives--glockenspiel, wind chimes, Blue Man Group PVC tubes, to name a few. The stringed instrument that enters at the beginning of the third minute and, a little later, the "distant" industrial synth kind of disrupt the initial feel and mood bringing in an unsettling feel--which may be appropriate considering the song's title. The final two minutes follow the now-established "distant" industrial synth as an picked acoustic guitar plays over the top and, gradually, takes over--until the song's final minute, in which some very eerie synth washes, warbles, wooshes and whispers fill the void. (7/10)

6. "Treehouse" (5:31) begins with an electric piano's very simple chord progression. Mariuz' treated voice begins singing what feels like a fairly straightforward pop song. Straight time rock drum and bass beat joins in. The song often feels like it's beginning to unravel but then it seems to come back together again. Nothing very exciting or ear-catching happens for the first 3:10. Then a quite space with simple acoustic guitar strummed chord progression backs Mariuz dreamy voice--until the rock format returns at the four minute mark. (7/10)

7. "Pygmalion's Ladder" (12:02) opes with an ominous (promising!) guitar arpeggio progression--which is all too soon ruined by some cheap Middle Eastern "horn" (or fuzzed guitar) sound. By 1:30 the backbeat has become more like a classic Tangerine Dream keyboard-led sequence. Were the intermittent appearance by the annoying "horn" sound and it's equally grating melody removed from this song it might be pretty decent! In the fourth minute the foundation falls back to bass and arpeggiated guitar as a good (if typical) Mariuz vocal enters. The "chorus" at the 4:45 mark is a bit of a step down and then it's followed by an odd bridge of alternating synth (choral) chords and a disappointing fuzz guitar solo. Another shift at 6:18 while the Mike Oldfield-like muted fuzz guitar continues to solo. The eight minute shifts again into even more Oldfield-sounding territory. The section beginning around 8:14 is heavier and packs the kind of power and drama that one expects (and wants) from a Duda project. A beautiful little interlude of delicate sounds (arpeggiated acoustic guitar and kalimba) sets up a crashing entry into the near-end crescendo. Though this song is in constant forward development with very little thematic recapitulation, it just fails to ever really "get there." (8/10)

8. "Sky Drawn in Crayon" (4:59) is a ethereal vocal sung over finger-picked acoustic guitar and some various and sundry incidentals--playground children noises, midi-keyboard melodies, cyber-computer click/pop noises. This one never really gets anywhere. (7/10)

9. "Walking on a Flashlight Beam" (8:11) is a(nother) dull song until the Robert Smith/Cure guitar riffs of the last two and a half minutes. (8/10)

The antiquated sound samples used here feel so out-dated and simple and could have been so much more sophisticated. Plus, Mariuz' Lunatic Soul project seems hello-bent on taking the ANATHEMA Post Rock approach: taking simple melodies and rhythms for foundations and then slowly--sometimes painstakingly slowly--building over and around them. Unlike Anathema, however, Lunatic Soul's songs never seem to get anywhere--each song ends with me asking, "What was the point? What was the message? What was the intention?" As much as I like music like this that develops slowly, using space and time to convey a message with delicate timing, I'm beginning to think that Lunatic Soul lacks the vision to make lasting statements with their songs. Maybe they're tired. I cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed with an album I so highly anticipated.

2.5 stars. Definitely an album I feel deserves the "for collectors only" label.

BrufordFreak | 2/5 |

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