Lucius — Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe — have toured/worked with the likes of Roger Waters, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy/Wilco and David Byrne, so they’re good singers and know their stuff. We’ve found that albums by backing singers can be hit and miss — standing behind a talented songwriter for 100 gigs doesn’t mean some of his or her talent is going to rub off. There’s a reason why you’re a backing singer and the other guy has his name on the poster.
In the case of Lucius, it’s a mixed bag. They have the songwriting skills to be a decent acoustic/folk pop band but as yet they don’t have the songs. This album starts off well and more or less tails off as it goes on; if it was vinyl, you’d only ever play side one.
Opener Madness is ok, neither good nor bad, but warming things up acceptably. Something About You is better, a lively electric pop record that would have had a long 12in mix were they going in the 1980s. What We Have To (Change) is good, a soulful tune with a deep sound. Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain is more electronic pop (though the opening seconds sounds disturbingly like Kim Wilde’s Kids in America. Gone Insane is a strong pop tune, and possibly the standout.
Apart from tailing off, the album also sounds like a lot of other bands who did it better, such as Banderas and Paula “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” Cole, particularly with some rather strident singing late on.
Overall: good in places but most of the sales will be of the few good tracks and not the album as a whole.