Lucius released their debut album “Wildewoman” on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The band “officially” came on the scene last year with their EP “Lucius” (2012) and were almost immediately featured on primetime shows like “New Girl.” The band features female duo Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on vocals, Dan Molad on drums and Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri on guitar. Their overall sound is something of a less percussive, more melodic and vocally-skilled version of Tilly and the Wall, another band that features a female lead vocal duo.
In “Wildewoman,” the band successfully experiments with both lively pop hits and slow lullaby-like ballads. The album begins appropriately with a track called “Wildewoman,” which features Laessig and Wolfe’s lilting voices combined with acoustic guitar to create a country/folk sound. From there the group changes it up with a more rhythmic alternative track called “Turn It Around.” In this, Laessig and Wolfe’s voices serve to emphasize both the melody and the rhythmic structure. This perfect combination of percussive and melodic vocal techniques can also be seen on their track “Hey, Doreen,” in which they manage to sound like both robots and rock singers and it couldn’t be more appealing. This sound technique finally culminates in their middle track, “Nothing Ordinary,” in which the two utilize multiple octaves and vocal styles to create an alt-rock success.
Apart from these three tracks, the album is mostly a combination of two other types of sound. Tracks like “Wildewoman,” “Tempest,” “Don’t Just Sit There” and “How Loud Your Heart Gets” all work to create an open, rock-orchestral sound through a combination of non-verbal vocals, rock guitar and a standard drum set. These are the types of songs that call to mind images of landscapes of the Southwest in all their grandeur and overwhelming space.
The second type of sound the album promotes can be seen on “Two of Us on the Run,” “Until We Get There” and “Monsters.” These tracks are lullabies at their base and put almost their entire focus on showcasing Wolfe and Laessig’s ability to lilt and soften their voices until they seem almost ethereal. Although the band has demonstrated that they can easily and successfully change their musical style, this is by far their most successful sound. “Until We Get There” is the type of song someone hears a few bars of on a television show and spends the next two months trying to find the again. It’s just that good.
There are so many reasons why this is a notably impressive debut album. However, one of the main ones is that Lucius manages to find the perfect balance between demonstrating their melodic versatility as artists while also playing to their strengths on each track. There is literally no track on the album that seems weak or unsure of itself. In fact, every single song is able to stand alone as an excellent work of music, which is an extremely rare accomplishment for a debut album. Lucius has set the bar very high for itself, but I have no doubt they will manage to meet and surpass it in their future albums.