To my credit I had listened to Wildewoman before I saw the cover and couldn't help to have some suggestive ideas pop up in my head. And in Doe Maar colours as well. 'Skunk' forever! And if you do not live in The Netherlands you best look up the album on Spotify. Reading the Wikipedia entry of the Wildewoman, it's not so strange that I had these ideas pop up, the band had the same connotation it seems. The cover is a painting by Belgian painter Evelyne Axell from 1964 by the way.
Wildewoman is a band from Brooklyn fronted by singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig who also play keyboards. They are backed by two guitarists, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri and a drummer called Dan Molad. Next to them there is a whole host of guest musicians and background vocalists assisting Lucius in making a wonderfully crafted and sounding album. This is the band's first full length album after releasing an EP in 2012.
The music of Lucius starts and ends with the voices of Wolfe and Laessig. Clear sounding and weaving. It is a joy to listen to them sing. Their way of singing lends the album a poppy atmosphere that the music does not necessarily provide in each song. The music is a mix of pop, indie rock and occasionally more complex, rhythm driven songs. There's also a nod to the new folk side of music. 'Two of us on the run' could have been a The Lumineers song e.g.. The blend of songs is successful as most songs are fascinating and simply draw me into the world Lucius provides.
How diverse Wildewoman is, becomes clear when I listen to a song with an extremely dreamy quality like 'Don't just sit there', with a great electric guitar part in it. This certainly is one of my favourite songs on the album. And although Wildewoman is a modern sounding album, the singing takes me back about 50 years, to The Shangri-Lahs or The Ronettes. At the same time Warpaint isn't extremely far away either. With a lot in between as well, like the French duo Brigitte e.g.. This makes Wildewoman as much a feast of recognitions as it is a new and fresh record, very 2014. It is this combination that underscores that Lucius has made a special record, with it's own characteristics.
Wolfe and Laessig know how to make the best come out of their harmonising. Although both their voices tend to go upwards, they manage to separate themselves in all the right places, creating heavenly melodies. They draw most of the attention on Wildewoman which is not totally fair to all the other things played on the album, but is the consequence of the extreme front position of the vocals on this album. This way Lucius may not have recorded a perfect debut album, but certainly one of the best first records that I came across in 2014.