Lunatic Soul - Fractured album review

Riverside man’s fifth solo album most personal and musical yet

Cover art for Lunatic Soul - Fractured album

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Created around what Mariusz Duda (to all intents and purposes, he is Lunatic Soul) describes as “a personal tragedy” in 2016, Fractured is, in part, a spacey, almost trip-hop like elegy to Riverside’s former guitarist Piotr Grudzinski who died suddenly in February last year.

Like all the best records, it’s also shot through with heartbreak and regret, though Duda has, quite brilliantly in places, managed to combine sublime acoustic guitars, orchestration and lazy looping beats that puts you in mind of the Bristol Sound from the early 1990s, think Massive Attack and Portishead. Don’t all run away shrieking though; there are moments of spooky, prog ambience that sounds like David Sylvian fronting Karnivool. Especially good is the head turning A Thousand Shards Of Heaven, a slow burner that wouldn’t sound of place on a Kings Of Convenience album, which then quietly reveals itself to be a mesh of strings, dance beats and histrionic saxophone and at over 12 minutes doesn’t sound a second too long. Duda’s clearly endured, making real art out of his adversity.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.