Enter into a comforting, warbling euphony at nightfall with sweet, familiar lullabies pulling you to rest, and you have Nudes by indie-pop band Lucius. It is a mix of three covers, three new songs, and four reworked songs from their past albums. All are completely acoustic and are meant to showcase all the songs they have played “be it at the center of the crowd, or on stage around one microphone, or in tiny, unexpected rooms around the world – all to share and create an intimate, heartfelt connection with our audience” as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig stated in a press release. Wolfe and Laessing are the two co lead singers who learned that their warbling, powerful voices went well together like milk and cookies while they were roommates at Berklee College Of Music in Brooklyn, New York.
Nudes is a good idea to feed their audience who are craving new material, but essentially is a few new singles with some covers that are better recorded versions of what they have been playing in their concerts. As an avid Lucius fan I am all about that, but someone who is not as familiar probably wouldn’t care as much for Nudes in comparison to their last few. That is another peculiarity about this album. They have essentially only released two albums previous to this, so it could be a little early to be releasing reworks of past songs. I would appreciate some new tunes more, and I’m sure they have a lot more to give. However, they have been busy on the Us and Them tour with Pink Floyd’s bassist, Roger Waters. One cover they do on Nudes, “Goodnight, Irene” even has Waters co sing lead with the duo. “Goodnight, Irene” is a good representation of the feeling of the album with it purposefully recorded to sound old timey and stripped to acoustic guitar and voices. While listening, the image of frontier settlers in rocking chairs lilting and swaying to the soft breeze as the stars rise and sun falls on their wide porch overlooking their ranch is an obvious connection despite all the specificality. Take a listen and you will see.
One of the standouts of the album is “Neighbors,” a new single that could be a hit for the group. It has the folky vibes from it being acoustic but still Lucius’s classic range of dynamics, and beautiful harmonies to a sassy, catchy tune. The first line in particular “I always lock the door, ’cause you never know for sure who your neighbors really are” captures my attention. One of the reworks that I find benefited from the alterations was “Something About You.” The original is loud, energized, and powerful, but the new one is fun and engaging, still with energy, but more reminiscent of a sweet 70’s song, giving it a timeless feel. They reworked “Tempest” as well, but I would say that one wasn’t up to par with the original. It was more dramatic and came off a little whiney whereas the original was also dramatic, but in a powerful way.
Overall the album is a nice addition for having more material from Lucius, but as a whole not as good as past work. Lucius is always beautiful and emotional though, so worth a listen.