This past week, the Brooklyn indie-pop quintet Lucius—headed up by frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig—released their sophomore album, titled Good Grief. A follow-up to their freshman album Wildewoman, which received high critical praise and peaked at 150 on the Billboard 200 chart, Good Grief sees the band diving further into experimenting with different types of sound.
The album as a whole is filled with a variety of styles, jumping from twang, to synth, to pop with every track. Each style in itself is done well, but with so many different types packed into one album, it can get to be a little much.
For example, the opening track, “Madness,” features Wolfe and Laessig singing in unison over a folky-synth beat. In another track, titled “What We Have (To Change),” the band gets back into their indie-pop roots a little more, with heavy piano and percussion beat. “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain” has a Madonna feel to it and is very reminiscent of 80s pop. Every song has it’s own unique sound, but when it comes to how often the genres change completely, it can be a little jarring.
Unpredictable variety aside, the lyrics and vocals of Lucius are in great form on Good Grief. In “Madness,” they jump straight into some heavy material with the first lines being: “I had a dream/Where you were standing there/With a gun up to my head/You were asking how it felt.”
In “Dusty Trails,” they open up about how their life on the road has affected them, saying: “We’ve been gone for such a long time that I’m almost afraid/to go home,” then following up with “Painful as growing is we can’t forget it’s our ticket to taking a risk/And we’ll all be ok.” The lyrics on this album definitely showcase the band’s vulnerable and raw side.
In addition to the lyricism, Wolfe and Laessig also match each other beautifully within the songs. They sing both in unison melodies, and in both cases are able to playfully float around from note to note, sliding from high to low with ease. They’re able to maintain an airy tone in one verse and then powerhouse the chorus right after that.
Overall, Good Grief tries to be a lot of different styles, but perhaps succeeds the most when the band sticks to its roots. Though the switches can be a little much, and the album may have been stronger if they picked a genre and stuck with it, it still has many redeeming factors.
Favorite track: “What We Have (To Change):” This song features the band at their strongest and hitting their indie-pop roots with a sick beat. Not only that, but the chorus features the catchiest lyrics on the whole album: “Find me a mountain/or any Grand Canyons/just find us an igloo and I’ll freeze with you.”