Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe have a go-to karaoke song. It’s not fair, really, given that the frontwomen of Lucius sing two-part harmonies for a living, that it’s those harmonies and their breakthrough album, Wildewoman, that earned the indie-pop rockers copious recognition last year. But when the two approach a mic--their matching long bobs and bangs casually coiffed, looking like life twins from another era--it doesn’t matter that they’re belting out “Sexual Healing” in a karaoke bar in Nashville. They could be anywhere at all, filling that space with the same unified lyrical heart that they can’t help but emote.
San Diego gets its first taste when the Casbah hosts Lucius on Wednesday, Feb. 5, for the quintet’s debut in America’s Finest City. Though the Brooklyn-based band’s success seems quick (2013 was a whirlwind year for the group), it’s been a slow-brewed operation.
“We got together under the pretense of having no real guideline, just trying things to see if something cool came of it,” Laessig said of the group’s beginnings in 2009. “And it did.”
She and Wolfe met while attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music some 10 years ago and found in each other a sense of community they’d previously been hard-pressed for. But it wasn’t until the women moved to New York that they met multi-instrumentalists Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri. “It felt like a natural relationship,” Laessig admitted, “very creatively satisfying and fulfilling.”
The resulting record isn’t serendipitous--to call it such would be a diservice. October's Wildewoman is beautifully crafted, a thoughtful recital of personal narratives woven delicately but purposefully into lyrically and instrumentally provoking anecdotes. It’s an empowering album without being overtly sassy or fast paced. But there’s an undeniable energy that Lucius captures in each of the record’s 11 tracks.
“We wanted to make sure that each song was able to live in its own vibe and not try to put a sound on everything,” Laessig told us. “It fit together in the end because there was movement between each song--they’re all related to each other.”
Lucius caught the attention of music media moguls and turned up on a number of year-end lists that alternately lauded the bands’ lyrical handle and songwriting--and not all for one track. Wildewoman has critics divided over a hit. Whether it’s the swirling synth of “Tempest” or the stepping drum that crawls over a creeping vocal climax in “Go Home,” the Casbah will swell with crowd requests on Wednesday night. And if we all shout out for “Sexual Healing,” will Laessig and Wolfe indulge us their karaoke favorite? Only one way to find out.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, recently moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.