Though so many acoustic albums can be a cash-in or empty take on amazing original material, Lucius aren’t ones to make music as expected. In a surprising follow-up to their electronic-charged Good Grief, the band shifts their energy to show how much depth they truly have as artists. Breathing new life into covers and their own songs, the album reminds us just how much we need a band like Lucius right now.
Despite the acoustic flavour, from the opening chords of “Woman” it’s clear that Lucius haven’t lost any of the majesty that makes their recordings so magical. Thanks to the band’s more ambient use of effects and touches of synths, they create entirely new energy for many of the songs on this record rather than sapping it out. The jazz swing of “Right Down The Line” is really driven up as the band crafty a smoky bar-tone to the song. Though it doesn’t feel quite as fleshed out, the sense of place Lucius build behind the track is powerful.
“Tempest” will definitely prove as one of the more divisive listens on the record, as many of its catchy hooks are subverted into something new. Lucius really create a menacing energy in this version, although the backing vocals and lack of a strong bass remove a lot of the song’s punch regardless of the song’s timbre. This is made all the more confusing considering how funky the mix on “Something About You” cuts in, and immediately freshens up its rustic tones. Rather than playing like a campfire recording, the band use the change to create a Motown meets early rock vibe.
One of the interesting contextual changes is on “Neighbors” which now sounds like a folk narrative rather than a simple love song. Though the overall heft of its stripped-back sound doesn’t always work, the passion behind the vocals carries a lot of the performance. Crisp percussion and guitars set “Eventually” put an entirely new groove into Tame Impala’s “Eventually,” making its tones feel more hopeful than the pure bittersweet tones of the original. The song’s dynamic range and massive drop-outs give the song a real sense of grandeur as well, showing how much Lucius can bring to the table on someone else’s music.
“Until We Get There” is tight and warm, crafting a sunny sense of welcome in its serene chords. While the feeling of the song is encompassing and inspiring, there’s not much else going on to really keep you hooked. “Million Dollar Secret (feat. Nels Cline)” glistens with its brilliant and fiery guitar work, eschewing a beauty and angst in layers. Though the song’s more subdued moments really drag, the unique writing and ecstatic performances really lift it up.
The utter sadness of “Feels Like A Curse” comes through immediately, as Lucius offer their vocal duality to give the lyrics a new depth. Thanks to this complexity, each shout is more heartbreaking and the contrast with the simple guitar is all the more heavy. Pulling in their friend Roger Waters for “Goodnight Irene” there’s a totally wholesome energy to the song that makes its seemingly phone-recorded audio feel all the more perfect. The connection and sense of fun the trio have together on the track make it a great listen that takes the album out with a snicker.
Words by Owen Maxwell