It seems rare these days to find an album where each song is valuable both individually and as part of the collective whole that makes up the record. Musicians are always telling us that they “don’t want to make just a few good singles with filler,” but few are able to fulfill those lofty intentions. Wilco did it on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, where the songs were different from themselves and anything Wilco had ever done in the past, and Animal Collective did it more recently on the 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion with the opposite approach: each song was unified by a cohesive and consistent sonic palette. Many point to Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album Rumours as another example, and there are surely others depending on one’s musical tastes.
But I think a newer, much lesser known group has entered that conversation, and they’ve done it on their first studio release, nonetheless. Brooklyn-based Lucius have managed to craft an album with diverse songs, catchy hooks, and really powerful vocals and harmonies stick in your head for days. There isn’t a song on their debut, Wildewoman, I want to skip through. Bob Boilen of NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’ perhaps says it best when describing their EP: “If it were possible to wear out a digital file, then my copy of Lucius' self-titled 2012 EP would now be scattered digital bits.”
And the layered vintage pop tunes sound just as good, if not better, live than the studio release primarily because of the musicianship of each member. The two female vocal leads drive the songs, but the guitar and percussive work are equally as good, bouncing and buzzing in contrast to the rich harmonies and infectious melodies. Lucius are a strong, cohesive musical unit — perhaps because of the fact that they’re really good friends with each other.
It’s hard to name highlights when each song could be a standout, but “Turn It Around” was a crowd favorite and all around awesome song, and the group closed with a spur of the moment acoustic rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye” in the middle of the audience.
I got to see the first performance of their tour, but there was no indication that they were only just starting to play the collection of songs off of their new album.
For any kind of lift in the form of good music this week or in the future, I strongly encourage you to check out Lucius’ new album, Wildewoman, or catch them while you can on tour.
Brandon Hook is the Web and Multimedia Associate at Sojourners.