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Rob Huff

CD of The Week

Week of 3/14/16

    Lucius - Good Grief (mom + pop)

    In 2016, Lucius are bigger and bolder than ever with their shimmering sophomore album Good Grief. After a relentless touring schedule in support of their debut album Wildewoman, the band has amassed a collection of massive pop songs that energetically shed light on the strain that constant travel and close quarters place on relationships. A sparkling combination of skilled songwriting and the glossy production of Shawn Everett (Weezer, Julian Casablancas), Good Grief ventures deeper into Lucius's unique rhythmic sound than ever before with pain at the forefront.

    Over the course of the album, it's evident that the harder the group struggles in the context of a particular song, the more its nuances combine to form a determined rush of passion. "Madness" sets the album's two-part tone with its dark opening, "I had a dream where you were standing there with a gun up to my head," in sweet harmony, then rises from soft strings to an explosive chorus. The desperation in "Gone Insane" takes their charming pop to a true place of insanity as it spirals into literal desperate screeches all the while never letting go of the mellowed choir of sounds beneath. The questioning continues on "My Heart Got Caught On Your Sleeve," a ballad delicately balanced the incredible vocal range of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, chords in all octaves of a distant piano and strings that sweep in from all directions.

    Serving as a bit of relief, joy abounds on the album's first single, "Born Again Teen." It's the blissful feeling of young love in an upper register set to an irresistible rhythm that whirs and jangles fervently from start to finish. The hollowed, country-infused sway of the album's culminating track "Dusty Trails" wanders back into a resolve to grow through the pain of the preceding events. "Everyone's around and I'm all alone," the two girls proclaim in a harmonized lyric that epitomizes the nature of their album as a whole.

    Driven by unbridled emotion embodied in the duality of Wolfe and Laessig's powerful voices, Good Grief captures Lucius' vulnerability with strength and ingenuity. It's the same bright-eyed music we've heard from Lucius soaked in an aching frustration and wrapped in a fancier package. With the finesse they've gained from touring, the group conquers hardship and new feelings in intriguing layers of rhythm and vocal walls of sound. Indeed, they do succeed in finding a great deal of good in the grief without ever sinking into despair. Lucius will be at Union Transfer on April 2nd.
    Review by Shana Hartzel

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