A Perfect Pair: Fall In Love With Lucius

Lucius

If you aren’t familiar with Lucius, stop right now and watch this video. Even if you’re already in love with them, watch it and fall in love again.

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are not sisters, though you certainly wouldn’t know it by their identical outfits or from listening to their voices combining in perfect unison and harmony. Those harmonies are the signature sound of Lucius, a band that combines 60s girl pop, chamber pop, Americana, folk and just enough danceability to create something that feels genuinely unique in the crowded indie music scene.

Wildewoman, the brand new LP from the duo, is just under forty-five minutes of glorious pop songs with soaring, passionate vocals. While the vocals are definitely the highlight of the album, the ladies are supported by incredible musicianship from multi-instrumentalists Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri. Molad, the percussionist, plays with a stripped down kit that generally consists of two drums and one cymbal, yet somehow he provides more drive than some drummers can muster with full kits. Lalish and Burri provide the stringed melodies, which somehow manage to sound both barren and lush, often at the same time.

The three songs from 2012’s self-titled EP (“Don’t Just Sit There,” “Turn It Around,” and “Go Home”) are easily among the strongest on the album, but that’s not meant to dismiss the rest of the tracks. “Tempest” starts with simple guitar and harmonies before turning into a raucous affair. “How Loud Your Heart Gets,” the album’s closer, similarly builds from quiet guitars, handclaps, and vocals to a roaring crescendo full of heartache.

Well before Wildewoman dropped this past October, the band was gaining fans and critical acclaim. In 2012 they secured a spot at SXSW and made several “Bands to Watch” lists. They spent most of that year supporting acts like JD McPherson, Milo Greene, and Pearl and the Beard. They started 2013 off with a much lauded NPR Tiny Desk Concert and gained an unlikely fan in the New York Time’s columnist Paul Krugman, who later in December said Lucius “may have been the best musical performance of any kind [he has] ever seen.”  Throughout a year of nonstop touring, Lucius moved from being third-billed to opening for larger acts (Local Natives, Tegan & Sara, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) to headlining their own shows.  Several stops at festivals and the inclusion of  “Until We Get There” on an episode of Fox’s New Girl introduced the ladies’ music to an even larger audience. To top off their incredible year, Wildewoman appeared on several 2013 “Best Of” lists.

Lucius’ energetic live performances command adoration from audiences who admire them for both their musicality and the passion with which they approach it. Wolfe and Laessig truly sing with their souls bared.  Don’t count on Lucius playing intimate gigs for much longer.  If the past has been any indication of their continued trajectory, 2014 will be the year they explode. Pick up tickets to catch them at one of Madison’s best live music venues, High Noon Saloon, on February 22 while you still can.

–Ashlie Crooks

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