It’s important to note that we love Lucius. The duo’s first album was a work of joy and wonder; it had us all losing our shit up at PressPLAY HQ. Here we have two exceptionally talented musicians and songwriters, and indeed fantastic vocalists as aptly demonstrated in their mesmerising live performances and much adored presence on San Fermin’s debut.
That intro was quirky yet accessible; reminiscent of bygone eras, somehow simplistic yet complex, and lyrically wise in its offerings. It sounded exactly like the music of two friends who had studied their craft together and created magic in unison. There’s a recent penchant for regurgitated 80s synth but Lucius’s retro-pop sound settled more in the 60s and old darling country classics and was all the more beautiful for it. So needless to say, we were excited about the follow up. Perhaps overly so. A couple of years on the road, some quality time in the studio, a smattering of life experience under the belt, all ought to bring about something exceptional.
Then we started listening to Good Grief and exclaimed the very same words in tragic and confused disappointment. Good grief indeed.
There’s a sense of wondering whether there’d been more time spent at the bar than at the keyboard, with slightly (read: quite) dodgy lyrics, nothing special on the dual vocal they’ve become so well-loved for, and a few average pop tracks to accompany a just-about-alright video for single Born Again Teen.
Some light begins to peep through the clouds with the welcome arrival of – ironically enough – Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain. By the time Gone Insane kicks in, we’re dragged from our grieving by the seat of our pants, wedgied into life with a storming force of pop writing and production that has all the sass and vocal flare we’d hoped for, and that we know Lucius are capable of.
The showcase continues with classic beauty Truce and Asian-inspired quirk-fest Almighty Gosh, a pop masterpiece that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Lady Gaga playlist. Calm down. That delightful country vibe once again shines through in closing track Dusty Trails and definitely leaves us wanting to dive back in to fill our lungs with dirt.
This is what we know Lucius are truly made of, see; nifty writing and plenty of diva strut. We don’t know what the first handful of tracks is about but as long as their musical substance isn’t compromised, we have no need to fear. When Good Grief gets good it gets pretty damn good – here’s hoping Lucius’s visual overhaul won’t detract from that going forward.