Lucius – Wildewoman [album review]

by Woody on October 23, 2013

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I resisted Lucius for as long as I could. I originally thought they were some kind of a hipster schtick act due to the matching outfits and retro girl-group influence. I reluctantly caught a set in SXSW and reluctantly enjoyed it. Still wasn’t really sold as anything more than a quick flash but then this video hooked be back in and hearing Wildewoman in its entirety made me realize how wrong I had been.

Wildewoman is wonderfully written, beautifully produced and flawlessly executed. I can’t remember the last time I was floored by an album where I went in expecting so little. For those of you left who don’t know about Lucius, they are fronted by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The ladies sing as one on every song and the results are mesmerizing. Backed by three gentlemen, including Dan Molad, who had a hand in Ha Ha Tonka’s excellent latest effort, Lessons.

Much like Jonathan Wilson, Lucius visits an era from yesteryear and does it proud. At their core, it is easy to label them as a retro 60s girl group. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface as there are elements of twang, fuzzy pop and soul strewn thought the album. It was the mournful guitar of Go Home that first hooked me on this band but there is so much other things to love.

Nothing Ordinary is pop perfection with a meaty backbeat. In the wrong hands, it would be fleshed out with canned beats and I would despise this song. Following that up with the sparse beginning of The Two Of Us On The Run is fantastic album management. After the frenetic pace of Nothing Ordinary, the slow build to the ending payoff of The Two Of Us On The Run is absolutely fucking brilliant. And lest I forget the closer, How Loud Your Heart Gets. I love the space the band utilizes in the beginning of this track and then slowly builds up to one of the best choruses you’ll hear this year. Then they break it down mid-way, only to build it back up again with the ladies taking turns to sing solo for a few lines. It is goose-bump inducing and so powerful. Simply put, that is how you end a great album.

So to recap: Lucius, sorry I judged you before really listening. Thank you for proving me wrong and making an album that will stand the test of time in my collection.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Lucius can be found here.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ScottsSounds October 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

I saw them 2x at SXSW and then we caught them at a small club in SF 2 months ago. They were v. good and got better. In SF, the crowd was so into them. Fantastic. Highly recommended.

ScottsSounds October 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

p.s. The first time we saw them at SXSW was because ACL was having a free Bloody Mary\Breakfast taco morning. Is it March yet?

MyMusic October 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Actually met Holly Laessig at Rockwood Music Hall a couple of years ago while her then-boyfriend was playing a show. She was very nice and mentioned that she too was in a band called Lucius. The name stuck and now the music does too. Very happy that the band put out such a great record. Wishing them all success.

Tony Walters October 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Last night (10/25/13) in Chicago they brought down the house. And to finish it off they waded into the middle of the crowd (acoustic guitar; drumming with sticks on the concrete floor) for a final “goodbye” number. We all loved them.

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