Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe aren’t related, but since meeting at the Berklee School of Music in 2005 they’ve developed a tight bond that fueled their collective songwriting efforts. That bond is built on trust and intuition—the kind of relationship where one friend can finish the other’s sentences. From the beginning they dressed like one another, offering a joyful visual playfulness on stage. They formed Lucius in 2007 with drummer Dan Molad and guitarist Peter Lalish, and by the time they dropped their first album Wildewoman in 2013 they had forged a masterful sense of pop songcraft. As fizzy and infectious as the band’s sparkling arrangements were, the clear heart of the music was the twinned vocals of Laessig and Wolf, who sing in beautifully striated harmony, with an elastic range of pure pop aesthetics.
The group relocated to Los Angeles in 2015, dropping its edgier, more urbane second album Good Grief the following year. Pitchfork wrote that Laessig and Wolf “provide prominent, explosive close harmonies of the ’90s folk rock sort lately repopularized by the likes of Girlpool. Their voices are set to the sort of synthy, cavernous production that evokes an increasingly decontextualized version of the ’80s.”
After years of touring the group was burned out. So the singers leapt at an invitation from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters to join his touring band, a collaboration that stretched to three years, although Lucius did manage to release an anthology of previously unissued and newly recorded songs called Nudes in 2018. Wolfe and Molad, who had married before the group released its debut album, ended up divorcing while maintaining their creative partnership. In March of 2020 they began working on a new album with Brandi Carlile and producer Dave Cobb, and as the effort proceeded Laessig and Wolf noticed that their new songs were pushing toward a more over-the-top dance-pop sound, which their collaborators encouraged. That shift is vividly captured on the 2022 album Second Nature, where the singers retain their honeyed sonic identity even as the arrangements reflect a newfound ardor for vintage disco. As Spin said of the album, “Second Nature is a disco album that pushes the limits of the moods we associate with music – it dances and grooves to sad and introspective lyrics, it shuffles an ’80s synth beat on top of very modern concerns and worries.”