Album Review | Lucius’ debut album a huge success
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 00:10
In today’s world of music, it’s getting harder and harder to be different. Whether it’s the uninspired layered loops of Top 40 pop or the formulaic acoustic guitar riffs of indie rock, each new song feels like a regurgitation of its predecessors — albeit with a slight, nearly imperceptible twist. Now, emerging artists are faced with a twofold challenge: to deliver a praise-worthy, quality sound that also stands out amongst a crowd of clones. Novice indie-pop band Lucius has managed to achieve both.
After Rolling Stone dubbed Lucius a “Band to Watch” back in August, the five member Brooklyn-based group has certainly lived up to the prophecy with the release of their debut album, “Wildewoman,” last week. Consisting of drummer Dan Molad, guitarists Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Lucius is a mere two years old — though its two female leads have been singing together since their college days at Boston’s own Berklee College of Music.
The strength of the album lies in its sheer diversity. “Wildewoman” avoids getting sucked into the insipid quicksand of musical monotony — no two songs are truly alike. Despite this miscellany, however, the record is in no way fragmented or disjointed. Somehow the group is able to fuse each number together seamlessly, creating a work that showcases individual tracks as well as the group’s overarching spunky, vintage-pop sound. Amidst Wolfe and Laessig’s intoxicating, synchronized voices and catchy, head-bobbing beats, Lucius is a strange contradiction — crafting a cohesive, unified collection in which every song remains uniquely autonomous from the whole.
For fans of Lucius’ four-track self-titled EP that was released last year, a few of the tracks on “Wildewoman” may be familiar. After the opener, listeners will recognize the infectious “Turn It Around” from their sample. From Wolfe and Laessig’s very first “Ah-ah-ah-ah-Ha!” — a vocal interlude that punctuates the end of nearly every line in the song — the track sets a high-energy tone that persists for the next three and half minutes. Alternating between jumpy, make-you-want-to-dance verses and a slower, more melodic chorus, “Turn It Around” exemplifies the album on a micro-scale — effortlessly integrating two distinct sounds into a single entity.
One song later, “Wildewoman” sounds like a completely different production. An old-time country-esque ode to lost love, “Go Home” is almost painfully slow, echoing the lonely, melancholic feelings of the narrator. Every note is lethargically drawn out, requiring tangible effort from the instruments to propel the tune forward. The deliberately heavy tempo lends an air of tragic weariness to the piece, consistent with the lyrics. Wolfe and Laessig’s crooning is rife with dejection as they sing, “Press on my heart, I will say / I don’t need you anyway / I don’t need you, go home.”
Another mellow number, “Two of Us on the Run” is both tender and ethereal, further showcasing the angelic vocals of Lucius’ front women. Clear and whispery, their voices drift poignantly over the delicate plucking of acoustic guitar. When a powerful piano riff enters later — escalating into a subtle crescendo — listeners will be inevitably hit with chilling waves of goose bumps.
Yet, the true highlight of “Wildewoman” is the impossibly addicting “Hey, Doreen.” Slathered with traces of harder rock in its pounding piano chords and thick drum beats, “Hey, Doreen” drives the momentum of the album. With cymbals shaking over electronic bleeps and a vibrating bass pulsating beneath the sultry, retro-tinged yells of Wolfe and Laessig, this song is a force to be reckoned with. Culminating in an unexpectedly dissonant minor chord that fades away as quickly as the song began, “Hey, Doreen” is one audiences won’t soon forget.
“Wildewoman” is not only a phenomenal debut — it’s a musical game changer. Innovative and refusing to surrender to convention, Lucius has raised the bar for new musicians everywhere and redefined what it means to be original in the indie-pop scene. Listeners can only wonder what the band will do next.