When you’re locked down in your home for a year, it’s inevitable that you’re going to listen to more music than usual. There simply is the time to. This has certainly been the case for me anyway. Finishing Uni, moving out of a student house, starting an office job and then being told to work for said office job from home (a much quieter house than before) has completely changed the air around me. One album that has wonderfully filled the silence whilst I work 9-5 is Lucius’ Wildewoman, released in 2014. Granted, there has been plenty of new music released recently – admirably during a pandemic – but this album felt as fresh to me as anything else.
A four-piece band led by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Lucius create a spellbinding concoction of dreamy harmonies, captivating rhythms and sweet-sounding guitars. Add to that a splash of female power and you have an album that is sure to engulf you. The first track, ‘Wildewoman’ sets the tone – ‘we’ll only be bound by the things we choose’, ‘we’re ripping out the pages in your book’. The lyrics grab you, the intricate textures grab you, everything about this song makes you want to stay for more. Lucius strike the perfect balance between mellow and tumultuous, as evident in ‘Turn It Around’, ‘Hey Doreen’ and ‘Genevieve’. But ‘Go Home’ is a real cornerstone in the track list with its intimate, beautifully raw confessions of feeling unworthy and ultimately pushing someone away because of it. It’s something we’ve all felt – inadequate. But what is so powerful is the affirmation that you can be a super strong, independent feminist and still have those overwhelming moments of self-doubt.
There are some grey, not-so-gripping tracks such as ‘Tempest’ and ‘Nothing Ordinary’ but they act as teasers for the other masterpieces that make Wildewoman an overall brilliant album. For example, the middle eight of ‘Two of Us on the Run’ exquisitely captures the essence of escaping and constantly moving forwards. It’s almost a montage of the woods and the wilderness, whisking you away into a magical place of emerald trees and folk music. And when you listen to ‘Monsters’, it feels as though you’re sitting in an attic with an old record you’ve just stumbled upon by accident. With its muffled, vintage recording vibe and muted piano, the simplicity of the music here contrasts beautifully against the busyness of the other tracks.
You know the type of song that makes you stop what you’re doing and just listen? That’s what happened the first time I heard ‘Until We Get There’. It’s gentle and delicate in its cleverly tangled textures, immersing you completely. Just a simple guitar riff is all it takes to usher you into its waves of soothing musical genius and astounding artistry, and then it builds and builds until you are completely entranced. ‘How Loud Your Heart Gets’ is similar in this respect, with its ever-increasing layers of harmonies and musical material. The guitar here is truly electrifying, immediately locking you in its firm, fierce grip – much like everything else on this album.