by / October 28th, 2014 /

Lucius – Whelan’s, Dublin

Lucius, looking and sounding like they do – perfectly symmetrical, two nearly-identical lead vocalists – slink onstage, all smiles and waves, and slot neatly into position like Lego. It’s almost as if they’d rehearsed it. It has to be said, they look perfect on the iconic Whelan’s stage. In front of a heaving, sold out crowd, the band – to a woman and a man – look genuinely surprised at the response they’re getting and more than once find themselves taken aback at the crowd’s equally unexpected ability to sing back to them. “How do you guys know these songs?”, asks Jess… or Holly (or Agnetha or Anni-Frid).

It comes as no surprise just how formidable Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are as a front paring. They look as though they absorb the energy from each other as much as they do the crowd and when guitarist Peter Lalish spoke to State a couple of months back, this was one element he couldn’t praise highly enough. “Their voices work so well together and as a creative force they are unstoppable. Even though our music is a kind of non-vocal arrangement… you just feel confident when you’re playing with them”. On the basis of this performance, he’s not wrong. They sound absolutely stunning from the moment they open their mouths and exude confidence and cool like nobody’s business. Their appearance, voices, keys and cowbells giving them everything they need to make you slightly less impressive than you thought you were.

Playing a fairly concise set, owing it’s austerity to no apparent reason (the band have released two albums and an EP so far), unfortunately their sound isn’t exactly as electrifying as you’d expect. With the exception of ‘Tempest’, ‘Genevieve’ and ‘Wildewoman’ among one or two others, the music seems at times to just drift into the ether without ever taking hold. Not always is that the case, it must be said. The songs are effervescent and bright but sometimes they have all the impact of a dying Glade plug-in above the din of a murmuring crowd. Maybe this is their aim, or maybe this is an oversight, but never let it be said that music doesn’t need bass. This, obviously, is a matter of opinion and not a declaration of fact, but it was far too conspicuous in its absence to be written off as obsolete or surplus to whatever aesthetic construct you find yourself in front of.

So, Lucius, a band to simultaneously make you feel nostalgic and forward-looking; previous comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and Haim are pretty close to the bone. They definitely look the part and have the tunes and chops to generate a certain type of gushing reaction from the crowd. Sometimes they may drift into weedy, reedy territory, but when they do pull it off they are never anything less than exciting to behold.

Lucius were photographed for State by Olga Kuzmenko