Lucius are back with their first proper album since 2016’s Good Grief, the Dave Cobb/Brandi Carlile-co-produced Second Nature, out April 8 via Mom + Pop Music in the U.S. and Mexico, Dine Alone in Canada, and Second Nature Records/Secretly Distribution everywhere else. The indie-pop duo have also released the music video for lead single “Next to Normal” and announced a spring North American tour.
A press release describes Lucius’ third full-length as “a portrait of singer and songwriters Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe’s shared reflection, chronicling each other’s seismic life shifts—motherhood, divorce, unplanned career pauses—and setting [them] to music.” The duo wrote the LP and primarily recorded it at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, with contributions from their longtime band members Peter Lalish and Dan Molad, as well as Solomon Dorsey, Drew Erickson, Rob Moose and Gabriel Cabezas. Carlile and Sheryl Crow sing backing vocals.
“[Second Nature] is a record that begs you not to sit in the difficult moments, but to dance through them,” Wolfe explains in a statement. “It touches upon all these stages of grief—and some of that is breakthrough, by the way. Being able to have the full spectrum of the experience that we have had, or that I’ve had in my divorce, or that we had in lockdown, having our careers come to a halt, so to speak. I think you can really hear and feel the spectrum of emotion and hopefully find the joy in the darkness. It does exist. That’s why we made Second Nature and why we wanted it to sound the way it did: our focus was on dancing our way through the darkness.”
Co-producer Carlile says of working on the album:
Lucius has been one of my favorite bands since their first studio album. I kept running into them at festivals and finding myself mystified by their power. This album feels like home to me and anyone growing up surrounded by ‘80s and ‘90s pop, but somehow Second Nature is the beginning of a new era—not just for Lucius, but for all of us. We need to get back up on our feet and that’s what this album is insisting we do. This is my first co-production with my dear pal Dave Cobb and I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder even to witness something, let alone get my hands on it. It was an absolute blast.
Lead track “Next to Normal” displays Lucius’ continued evolution from rootsy folk to glossy pop: A punchy funk low end drives the song, with buzzy guitar riffage framing Laessig and Wolfe’s musings on broken friendships, standing out instead of fitting in, and knowing who you can afford to be vulnerable around. In the hyper-catchy choruses, the duo pay tribute to a special someone who keeps them sane: “When I’m close to you, I’m next to normal / I feel immortal / I’m high without the paranoia.” The track is likely to have a similar effect on listeners, with a timeless dance groove that does anything but overstay its welcome.
Lucius’ last release was 2018’s NUDES, a compilation of stripped-back covers, reworks and new originals. We ranked their sophomore album among the best of 2016.
Lucius head out on a headlining North American tour this spring in support of Second Nature, with a European run to follow in September. Tickets to those newly announced performances go on sale Friday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m. local. The duo will also join Carlile at a handful of marquee dates in June, July and September, including shows at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre, L.A.’s Greek Theatre and Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Check out the “Next To Normal” video (dir. Jason Lester) below, and keep scrolling for Lucius’ 2016 Paste Studio session, the details of Second Nature and the duo’s tour dates. You can preorder their new album here.
Second Nature Tracklist:
01. Second Nature
02. Next To Normal
05. Dance Around It (feat. Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow)
06. The Man I’ll Never Find
09. Tears in Reverse
10. White Lies
Second Nature Art:
Lucius Tour Dates:
28—North Adams, MA @ MASS MoCA
29—Boston, MA @ Roadrunner
30—Portland, ME@ State Theatre
04—New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre*
06—Montclair, NJ @ The Wellmont Theater*
07—Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore*
09—Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club*
12—Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz*
13—Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse*
14—Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium*
16—Louisville, KY @ Headliners*
17—Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom*
18—Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall*
20—Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre*
21—St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre*
11—George, WA@ Gorge Amphitheatre ^
24—Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek Theatre ^
08—Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheatre ^
09—Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheatre ^
09— Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^
17—Dublin, Ireland @ Button Factory
18—Glasgow, U.K. @ St. Luke’s
20—Leeds, U.K. @ Brudenell Social Club
23—London, U.K. @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire
25—Brussels, Belgium @ Grand Salon Botanique
26—Paris, France @ La Maroquinerie
28—Berlin, Germany @ Badehaus Szimpla
29—Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso Noord
(* – with support from Celisse)
(^ – with Brandi Carlile)