If you’ve read many of the end-of-the-year blog posts that have been rolling in, you may have heard that 2013 has been the Year of the Indie Woman. From Lorde and Haim to Savages and Kacey Musgraves, the last 12 months have been dominated by female voices shaking things up on the indie scene.
One band that also has received mention — but not as much as it deserves — is Lucius, a five-piece outfit from Brooklyn fronted by the harmonies of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.
That is probably the catchiest song on the band’s 2013 debut, Wildewoman, but it’s far from the only standout. The disc opens with the title track, a tune that is kinda repetitive but is also a nice table-setter that gives you an idea of the group’s sound.
Things quickly kick up a notch on “Turn It Around”, which sounds like something that might have come off of a Lykke Li album. Just as quickly, the band slows things down on “Go Home”, an incredibly enthralling slow-burner that is reminiscent of the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album from a few years ago — only this is two women harmonizing with nary a classic rock god in sight.
Following “Hey, Doreen”, is another possible radio hit, “Tempest”. Besides the perfect harmonies, it has moments that conjure images of another amazing pair of women, First Aid Kit.
Then comes the wildest track on the album, “Nothing Ordinary”. It has another of those Lykke Li-type intros and gets a little crazy at times, but it shows that Lucius are not just some one-trick pony.
“Two of Us On the Run”, another slow-builder, is far from filler, but it almost seems to get lost in the shuffle and would be a standout on a lesser album. “Until We Get There” runs into the same issue, just not to the same degree.
And to make sure things don’t ebb too much on the back half of the album, “Don’t Just Sit There” gets the juices flowing once more.
After the filler track, “Monsters”, the album closes nicely with “How Loud Your Heart Gets”.
Overall, it’s a great debut by a band that seems destined to have a noteworthy career. The group has been touring seemingly non-stop and has already passed through Chicago four times since October 2012.
But that didn’t stop Wolfe and Laessig from lending their voices to another highly touted project from the past year, the self-titled debut from San Fermin. The baroque pop outfit formed by composer/songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone churned out an album that should be deemed an acquired taste at best. But it did produce one of the year’s best singles, “Sonsick”, on which Wolfe and Laessig stand out.