Don’t you wish you could just go to school and meet your musical soul mate, like a modern day Lennon and McCartney? Well it turns out (for Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) that the dream can come true, and years later you’ll release a widely heralded album. Like Lucius and their debut Wildewoman.
Perhaps the chances are greater when you attend the world’s largest independent school of contemporary music. The two young lasses converged at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, swiftly realising they were two peas in a pod and started singing together – literally. Together they released two EP’s, but their most crucial move lay in relocating to Brooklyn. They serendipitously moved into an old house they found online, which happened to be full of vintage instruments including a 1920’a Steinway grand piano. They also made a bunch of musical friends who would contribute to the record, as well as three lads who would become permanent additions to Lucius. Despite the new members though, the infectiousness and exuberance of Wildewoman is still all about the two founding femmes.
Lucius’ sound is characterised by the constant and beautiful harmonising of Wolfe and Laessig, creating dazzling melodies atop crisply crafted musicality, ranging from percussive 60’s pop to western/folk. The opening and title track gives an early insight into the focus on the harmonising, set to light trotting-paced percussion before it is stepped up with a folky vibe and country-esque guitars. The tale of the wild-streaked girl is concluded with enthralling vocal layering. Turn It Around follows and immediately hits as a standout track. It is much poppier with a quirkiness reminiscent of Lykke Li or Kimbra, still with a western guitar accompanying the catchy chorus. Go Home has a slinky folk feel exemplified by soft, country-gospel harmonizing. The girls’ voices sound almost identical, as if it is the same person. This is reinforced by their penchant for wearing matching outfits and hairstyles when performing live, which they describe as “dressing the sound”.
Hey Doreen and Nothing Ordinary are exactly that, bringing quirky 60’s pop eccentricity, driven by stomping drums, synths and distorted guitars. Their righteous pop side sounds like Grouplove, whilst their restrained folk edge feels like a First Aid Kit lullaby. Two of Us on the Run and Don’t Just Sit There are tender acoustic ballads that are beautifully crafted beneath the melding voices of the dual vocalists. The end of the album becomes all dreamy and twinkly on Monsters before closing track How Loud Your Heat Gets brings the slow jam mode until it evolves into a deeply arranged tune roused by uplifting guitars as the girls croon over the top.
Lucius bring everything from the gentle to the jubilant with their charismatic debut Wildewoman. They certainly aren’t looking through the wrong end of a telescope when it comes to their inspirations, creating energetic, punchy melodies through 1960’s-girl-band-meets-country pop. The buoyancy and captivating faultlessness of their tunes earned them a showcase at the recent SXSW festival, and their contagious authenticity is sure to see them garner attention the world over.