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Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length release for the Brooklyn indie folk five-piece led by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig was produced by Shawn Everett.
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Top Track

Born Again Teen
It's a feeling like a born again teen Got a heartbeat like we're only sixteen Would you take my hand, baby? You know, you know I like to dance Maybe... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Magnet
    Mar 30, 2016
    This sophomore set--which largely sidelines the folkier aspects of their 2013 debut in favor of a sharper, fuller, occasionally aggressive big-pop approach--offers plenty of grand, gut-busting hooks. [No. 129, p.57]
  2. Mar 11, 2016
    The result is song after song with earworm potential, finishing with a masterful four-song stroke that culminates in “Dusty Trails.”
  3. 75
    It’s all over the place, but in a good way. After all, when two people come together to create one identity, it makes sense for that identity to be a bit mercurial.
  4. Mar 9, 2016
    The biggest constant here is the technical proficiency and complementary blending of the band's lead singers. The pair--who are notably also the album's sole songwriters--make a visual show of this, wearing matching clothes and hairstyles in performance. That quality ultimately overcomes any shifts in style, and also makes them hard to ignore.
  5. Mar 22, 2016
    As put-together as Good Grief’s presentation is, and as ingratiating as its songs are, the record suffers from a distinct lack of identity.
  6. Mar 11, 2016
    Good Grief marks an important next step in the realisation of their sassy pop character.
  7. Mar 10, 2016
    At times Lucius sound like they’re trying too hard to be clever (see the overly theatrical wails that conclude Gone Insane), at others they merely sound formulaic, and even a little dated.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Apr 26, 2016
    Lucius has improved in sound quality, and emotional emphasis from their start at Wildewoman. Unfortunately, they spread themselves a littleLucius has improved in sound quality, and emotional emphasis from their start at Wildewoman. Unfortunately, they spread themselves a little bit to thin looking for a cohesive message and sound. "Good Grief", "What We Have (to Change"), and "Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain" stand atop of the heap for the album, with "Good Grief possibly being one of the most adventurous tracks of the year.

    The biggest issue with Lucius is that they don't quite seem to know what they want to be. They flirt with different sounds, genres, and time periods without putting together a cohesive body to judge them from. While the retro-pop sound is interesting, it isn't necessarily distinctive, and that's where the fault lies.
  2. Mar 18, 2016
    Two years ago, I had the treat of seeing Lucius perform live at my university. To this day, that show remains one of my favorite concerts I’veTwo years ago, I had the treat of seeing Lucius perform live at my university. To this day, that show remains one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to. The band brought to life songs that I already adored, and somehow made me love them even more.

    Smash cut to March 2016, where Lucius has just released its second album, “Good Grief.” The album boasts cleaner production, bigger instrumentation and more danceable hooks. It also marks a shift from the ’60s girl power pop sound of “Wildewoman,” to a sleek, ’80s synth-pop sound that has seen a reemergence recently. It isn’t a bad shift, it just doesn’t feel like a necessary one.

    Lucius isn’t doing anything new or ground-breaking with this album. Granted, they weren’t doing anything new with “Wildewoman,” but that album sounded different from other current pop outfits. “Good Grief” just sounds like a retread of Taylor Swift’s “1989,” Ra Ra Riot’s “Need Your Light,” Carly Rae Jepson’s “Emotion,” and Tame Impala’s “Currents,” just to rattle off a few. And even those albums were retreads of other ’80s pop groups.

    That isn’t to say the tired sound ruins the album. There are plenty of earworms and good tracks on here; however, there’s less emphasis on Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe’s vocals. The harmonies we’ve come to expect from the duo are still there, but they’re relegated to the background in the mixing of some of the tracks. One song that doesn’t put the gals on the backburner is “My Heart Got Caught On Your Sleeve,” a piano ballad somewhat reminiscent of an Adele track. There’s a portion where Laessig and Wolfe belt out “I am lost in my own home” that sent chills down my spine.

    The tracks themselves are a mixed bag for me. Songs like “What We Have (To Change)” and “Dusty Trails” sound like Wildewoman b-sides and are, along with “Something About You” and “Better Look Back,” highlights of the album. Songs that follow the ’80s pop formula, like “Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain” and “Truce,” fall flat. The former boasts an incredibly bouncy beat, but it’s almost to the point of pastiche and feels out of place on the album. The latter is about as bland as bland can get with the melody and instrumentation, making the song feel lifeless. Lead single “Born Again Teen” is the black sheep of the album, though. While the verses are very catchy and upbeat, the chorus is unbelievably irritating.

    Oddly enough, though, some of my favorite parts of this album were when the band got more experimental with their sound, utilizing static and glitchy synths to contrast with Laessig and Wolfe’s voices. It was an intriguing concept, and I’d love to see the band dig deeper into it. Overall, “Good Grief” is not a bad album. If anything, it shows that Lucius is still developing its sound. If you enjoy the reemergence of ’80s synth pop that we’ve seen over the past few years, you’ll enjoy this album. But if you adored “Wildewoman” and expect a similar, yet bolder, sound, you’ll be disappointed.

    FAVORITE TRACKS: Something About You, What We Have (To Change), Dusty Trails

    LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS: Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain, Truce, Almighty Gosh, Born Again Teen