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Lunatic Soul - Under The Fragmented Sky CD (album) cover

UNDER THE FRAGMENTED SKY

Lunatic Soul

 

Crossover Prog

3.65 | 81 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Released in May 2018, Riverside bassist/frontman Mariusz Duda marks the first decade of his solo project Lunatic Soul with his sixth album under that alias, `Under The Fragmented Sky', and it couldn't be more appropriately titled. It constantly diverts between darker moods with uplifting hopeful passages, and lyrically is wistfully romantic and optimistic to answer the gloomier soundtracks behind it, and despite sharing a lyric from a track off the previous album `Fractured' and mostly originating from the same 2016/17 sessions, `...Sky' stands perfectly well on its own and is hardly mere `leftovers'. With about three quarters of the disc being instrumental, this particular LS disc mixes dark electronica and ambient styles, percussion- heavy brooding, vocal drones and superior balladry, making for another intelligent and varied emotional work from the Polish artist.

`He-av-en' unhurriedly wraps wordless sighing vocal loops around ethereal synth washes, simple percussion taps and chiming guitar strains together for an intriguing opener. `Trials' mixes purring vocal twitching and electronic glitches to take on a hypnotic shimmer that eventually melts into stormy shadowy rumbles, then `Sorrow' is all delicate electric piano tiptoes and an introspective soothing vocal cry from Mariusz. His title-track is an acoustic/electric tune sung passionately with intimate reflection ("Isolation, all my anger, regret...they're gone. I feel stronger...and it stopped the feeling I'm crumbling apart..."), and pretty multi-tracked harmonies, haunting piano and weeping exquisite guitar reaches lift the piece even higher.

`Shadows' reverberates with menacing machine programming that takes on a light-industrial coolness locking in pensive acoustic guitar ringing and slithering bass, an aching eastern-flavoured dustiness infiltrating the piece and into the following `Rinsing the Night', with an eerie blend of clipping pulsing beats and exotic percussion. `The Art of Repairing' is the highlight of the disc, a chilled slink through mellow electronica and head-nodding beats. The closer is then a lovely farewell ballad, and although Duda and Riverside are (still) ignorantly dismissed as Porcupine Tree clones by some, in this instance `Untamed' sounds very much like a Steven Wilson outtake, even down to the alternating electric/acoustic passages and gorgeous piano! Thankfully it's still beautifully sung with genuine warmth conveying the words, and it makes for an embracing and reassuring wrap to the album.

Although a fairly short (but wonderfully vinyl-length!) work at about thirty-seven minutes, and the third and fourth discs `Impressions' and especially `Walking on a Flashlight Beam' are the superior artistic statements under the Lunatic Soul banner so far, `...Sky' is perhaps the most intimate and subdued. Considering the difficult personal circumstances Mariusz has been around the last few years, the solemn reflection with traces of hope and an appreciation for life permeating the disc lift it even higher, helping make `Under The Fragmented Sky' a renewing, evocative and tasteful release from a smart and thoughtful artist.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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