Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Turn It Around” by Lucius from the 2013 album Wildewoman on Mom + Pop Music.
There are some people who think that when discussing good music, “pop” is a word to avoid. The five members of Lucius are certainly not those kind of people. Their music – a mixture of girl group dynamics, modern folk rock instrumentation, and ’60s pop rock melodies – is admirably immediate, undeniably infections, and often catchy enough to sing along by the second chorus. But as direct as it is, their music never shows its full hand after a single listen. Their instrumental section – guitarists Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri and drummer Dan Molad – brings nuance, rather than grandiosity, to the band’s harmonic swells. However, their not-so-secret weapon is the twin vocals of Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, an enrapturing pairing that often splits the difference between alluring whispers and soaring, gospel shouts. “Turn It Around” is an emphatic, highly percussive track that’s a “Hollaback Girl”-style callout in more ways than one. Wolfe and Laessig’s vocals wail over a bouncing beat, rising in tension during the vocals to build to a brilliant chorus that sums up the song’s troubled protagonist’s dilemma: “She’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope/turn it around, turn it around”. “Turn It Around” feels vibrant, but never saccharine; a reminder that pop as just much fun when it’s stinging as it is when it’s sweet.
Lucius will be back in the Pacific Northwest next month, playing shows at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge and Vancouver’s Media Club on February 12th and 10th, respectively, but unfortunately, they won’t have a show in Seattle other than an exclusive session for members of KEXP’s VIP Club. We’ll share video of that performance later, but for now, keep a tab on the band’s travels and any music or tour updates at their website and Facebook, and watch them play “Turn It Around” live on KEXP below.