“I cannot lie, there is a tingling down my spine” sing Lucius’ co-founders’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on the opening track of their second LP ‘Good Grief’ and it’s hard to disagree. Dark alien electronic moments, beguiling vocal harmonies and full-on euphoric pop bangers are all part of this curious sonic confectionary.
Produced by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Weezer) and Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd), along with the band themselves, ‘Good Grief’ came out of two years of touring the band’s 60s inspired luscious indie folk debut ‘Wildewoman’, working out a sonic resolution of the emotional highs and lows of being on the road.
Although at times the saccharine pop of the lyrics may be wince-inducing (“My heart got caught on your sleeve / I need it - please give it back to me”) there’s plenty of pure sing-in-the-shower pop gems and faultless tightly-knit vocal performances. ‘Born Again Teen’’s loud-quiet shifts sweep you off your feet like an ocean wave. It’s an instant earworm hit of colossal proportions with an explosive stylishly sinister edge. ‘It Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain’ is an intoxicatingly catchy tune begging for a dance routine. And as was the case with Lucius’ much-loved debut, there are plenty of genre-hopping reference points: ‘What We Have To Do To Change’ oozes towering Adele emotions whereas ‘My Heart Got Caught On Your Sleeve’ echoes The Staves’ melancholy folk sensibilities.
It’s not all shameless verse-chorus perfection. ‘Never Look Back’ kicks off brandishing a bold adolescent swagger but gets a little lost along the way, betraying a band still in search of its true identity. However, it is those effortless melodic hooks and spacious emotional dynamics that make Lucius’ often bewildering sonic kaleidoscope an irresistible proposition. ‘Good Grief’ marks an important next step in the realisation of their sassy pop character.