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First Listen: Lucius, 'Wildewoman'

NPR icon by Bob Boilen
Peter Larson

If it were possible to wear out a digital file, then my copy of Lucius' self-titled 2012 EP would now be scattered digital bits. New Yorkers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig sing soulfully in unison, but there's more to their perfect, magnetic pop music than that: Their songs are spacious and propulsive, the sounds around the edges quirky and sometimes percussive, and the music and the words built for maximum effect in the choruses. Every time, I walk away singing.

Wolfe and Laessig met while studying at the Berklee College of Music. They found an old Victorian home on Craigslist; it turns out the old place in Brooklyn had been a music school and recording studio. So they kept an open-door policy for musicians, which is how they met producer, engineer and drummer Danny Molad. He was in the band Elizabeth and the Catapult with guitarist Peter Lalish, and eventually they'd meet guitarist and drummer Andy Burri, again through Molad.

The quintet played around with ideas for a while, in no hurry to record. Those ideas became songs, and those songs sometimes feel inspired by Phil Spector's '60s girl groups. Sometimes they can reflect mountain music, and sometimes there's '80s-style grandeur, but it all comes out sounding wonderfully like Lucius on Wildewoman, the band's gorgeous full-length debut.

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