with Ava Luna and Magic Man, Feb. 22, 8 p.m., $10. The Outer Space, 295 Treadwell St., Building G, Hamden, (203) 288-6400, theouterspace.net, manicproductions.org.
They always say, "Two heads are better than one." For Brooklyn-based indie pop band Lucius, the saying should read: "Two frontwomen are better than one." Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig operate as a single entity that has been split in two, sharing the singing and songwriting duties, and they dress identically. "We just wanted the experience visually to be similar and sort of tie everything together," says Wolfe. "We wanted an experience." The experience of seeing Wolfe and Laessig backed by three dapper gentlemen is one you'll get to live through again, as Lucius hits The Outer Space this Friday.
Wolfe and Laessig have been friends for nearly a decade, and have been writing and singing music together for seven of those years. "Over time we worked with different people and finally found the band that [Lucius] is now," in this incarnation for about a year and a half, says Laessig. The five musicians came together after Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri moved into the house Laessig and Holly were renting in Brooklyn's Ditmas Park neighborhood. The house had once been a recording studio and music school, and the treasures left behind helped the fivesome record their debut EP there.
The self-titled EP contains four tracks, which will be included on the band's upcoming full-length release, which they hope to have out this summer. While some bands might not be able to get their point across in just four songs, this is an area in which Lucius succeeds. Each song has a different vibe, showcasing the band's musical range, while Wolfe and Laessig's vocals lead the way. They flip back and forth between clear and bright unison and stunning harmonies. Their two voices meld together so effortlessly, it's hard to believe they aren't sisters who share some kind of natural vocal similarities.
Their lives have taken similar twists and turns over the years to the point where their experiences overlap enough to aid in the songwriting process. "We've been fortunate enough to go through similar experiences at similar times, at least since our co-writing has begun," says Wolfe. "There's been some funny coincidences that are very relatable," she says. Their writing process is collaborative, swapping ideas or filling in each others' blanks.
All of this results in a visually captivating live show, as Wolfe and Laessig flirt with the notion that they are one and the same. The coordinated outfits and shared vocal duties only make the impact that much larger. Wolfe and Laessig were made to make music together.
Stylistically, these songs are expertly crafted and arranged. Wolfe and Laessig are Berklee College of Music grads, so their proficiency with a pop song is not unexpected. EP opener "Don't Just Sit There," is highly repetitive, but this song really doesn't need more than its three lines. The acoustic guitar, and steady drums provide a nice cushion for Wolfe and Laessig's soaring vocals. Their two voices blend together so well, it almost sounds more like a single singer with a doubled vocal track.
Aside from finishing up the full-length, the band will play a number of festivals this year, including a handful of shows at Austin, Texas' South By Southwest festival in a few weeks. "We just got added to the line-up of Solid Sound Fest [at Mass Moca] this summer with Wilco and Neko Case," says Wolfe. "We're also going to the Nelsonville Fest [in Ohio] with Wilco and John Prine," she says, adding that she and her bandmates are "super pumped" about it all.
The band fits well in small, intimate rooms, as was evident in their performance with Pearl and the Beard last year at Cafe Nine. The performance space at The Outer Space should be no different, if not a little more spacious for the performers. Also on the bill are Ava Luna and Magic Man, so don't be late.