Lucid dreaming

An effervescent ride on the mothership
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  February 1, 2011

beat_Lucid_13_main
BAND ON FIRE The Lucid issue a strong new disc.

How far the Lucid have come. Sure, sometimes a band come out of the gate firing on all cylinders and crush their debut album, using chemistry and energy to overcome lack of experience. But far more common is for a band to take a little while to find their footing.

What's crazy with the Lucid is that they were pretty killer in the first place, but have grown substantially regardless, and their third full-length, self-titled as The Lucid (the band having dropped the "Dominic and" appendage last year), is an impressive artistic achievement and a damn good listen.

Right from the get-go, with the "Mothership" that appears on the GFAC 207, Vol. 8 compilation, the listener is greeted by frontman Dominic Lavoie's vocals, which are far more confident, demonstrative, and rangey than they were in 2003/2004 when he first introduced himself to the scene. He's always seemed like a humble kid who's just wanted to be a singer in a rock and roll band in the worst way, so his lamentations, above chiming piano and maybe a theramin late-song, about the reality of the music biz here don't seem so much complaining as matter-of-fact: "Money's got its cold hard hands on the reins around the shackles tearing apart at the seams of my dreams." Dang it, kid just wants to "spin a rhyme/Tap my foot in time/To the changing of a changing mind."

He's now absolutely in the first tier of vocalists locally, right up there with Chris Moulton (that Vanityites band has some serious potential) for expressiveness and emotion and sheer vulnerability. This can only be the result to true dedication to his craft.

His long association with Lucid members Nate Cyr (bass) and Chuck Gagne (drums) has also resulted in a dynamic and interesting rhythm section that drives much of the new record and leaves Lavoie comfortable enough to experiment. The songs here tend to ebb and flow, with few verse-chorus constructions and a lot of songs that seem to breathe with a rising and falling of percussion and bass.

The album's closing "Like on TV" is all about the resonant percussion and rattle, a touch Polynesian, that makes the melody from the xylophone pop. And I love the way Gagne's martial drumming enters in the second half of "Excommunation," in order to usher in the two-minute coda-as-song "Maiden Flight of the Golden Calf." The pacing creates an expectant tension. Five years ago, the Lucid would have capitalized with a big crashing crescendo. Now they let things simmer. Ebb and flow.

It's impressive that the songs here can seem both constructed and organic in equal measure, a credit to the capturing done at Rocking Horse Studio in New Hampshire (co-producer Scott Mohler has actually joined the band now). This is noticeable, too, on "Frontierless," where Lavoie stretches out and luxuriates on a bed of high hat and a lovely alt-country guitar tone. The organ's warm hum in the song's last minute ties everything together so well: "Can you show me/The things I've never seen?"

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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Jefferson Airplane, Dominic Lavoie,  More more >
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