Lucius plays an acoustic encore at Schubas. ©2013 keithgriffith.org

Ones to Watch: Brooklyn-based rockers Lucius

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When Paul Krugman, the Nobel-laureate economist and New York Times columnist, recommends a music act, I take note. So I was happy last Thursday for the chance to see one of The Krug-Man’s recent picks, Brooklyn-based Lucius, play a sold-out room at Schubas.

The group’s Tiny Desk Concert for NPR, recorded in January, makes a good introduction:

Lucius’ music is full of surprises, roving from folksy twang to the bouncy sound of a Phil Spector-produced girl band. But the shifts don’t feel erratic. Vocal duo Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig’s powerful harmonies are the constant, and an exuberant rhythm runs through each song.

This is very fun music, and a terrific live act. Wolfe and Laessig had a magnetic presence at Schubas, sporting matching French twists and black minidresses. I won’t smear them with the “retro” label though. The Lucius aesthetic, musically and otherwise, incorporates some careful genealogy—but the final product is as current as it gets.

If the Schubas show is any indication, the band is trying on a more powerful, driving sound in the run-up to their first LP, slated for release this fall. “Don’t Just Sit There,” all twinkling and wistful on last year’s self-titled EP, had the makings of an indie-rock anthem in live performance.

Still, the encore was all-acoustic. The band performed it on the house floor, encircled by clearly adoring fans. The applause was ecstatic.

Lucius plays an acoustic encore at Schubas. ©2013 keithgriffith.org

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