Lucius’s voices of angels to storm Leeds Festival

Lucius.

Lucius.

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They’re not a household name yet but anyone who saw them make their British TV debut in April on BBC’s Later with Jools Holland with songs from their debut album Wildewoman won’t have forgotten Lucius in a hurry, writes Graham Chalmers.

The two girls with their matching blonde locks and unforgettable vocal harmonies, the three sharp-dressed, bespectacled guys bounding around between their guitars and various bits of percussion.

British fans will get a chance to see what all the fuss is about when this lively American indie pop band play Leeds Festival next weekend on the Festival Republic stage.

Looking a bit like early B52s but sounding like the Fleet Foxes crossed with Fleetwood Mac, I get the chance to chat to co-lead singer Holly Laessig on the phone before the band fly into the UK.

She’s in Nashville the morning after a show and is preparing to make the long drive to Chicago for the next stop in Lucius’s latest US tour.

“We’ve been touring since January and I’ve only been home for a total of 12 days since then. It’s tiring but it’s the life we chose and it makes me happy.”

No overnight sensations, it’s been nearly 10 years since Holly first met co-singer Jess Wolfe at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

For a while this stylish memorable musical pairing played with what she calls a “roving cast of people” before settling on the current energetic line-up after moving to Brooklyn.

All that coming and going meant debut album Wildewoman had to be re-recorded after initial sessions three or four years ago.

“We went back to the studio and did it all again to make sure we captured our band sound. The core is still the duality of my voice and Jess’s. We’re able to be free with everything around the vocals because we sing in unison.”

I suggest Lucius have something in common in their sound with First Aid Kit, the slightly hippy Swedish folk duo but I can tell Holly isn’t happy with my reference to the folk word.

But she does admit Lucius’s stage act has changed a lot since the early days.

“When we first moved to New York, we were doing quite folky things in a quiet way. But we would go to watch other people’s shows and we’d see all that energy on stage. There was a lot of jumping around. It affected us. We’re fully headbanging now!”

Slightly kooky in tone but with a sense of humour and firm sense of purpose, it turns out Holly and Jess were living parallel lives as teenagers, both of them going through trying times.

“We were outsiders at school. We got both bullied but it was mostly verbal. We got picked on for being the oddballs but now we’ve found other oddballs and are travelling the world together making music.”

Lucius play Leeds Festival on Friday, August 22.

For tickets, visit www.leedsfestival.com