Second Nature fuses funk and disco (which pulses through the title track and “Next to Normal”) with ‘80s new wave (“Heartbursts;” “LSD”) and millennial club catharsis (“Dance Around It”); it draws a throughline from Abba’s unabashed dance floor devotion to Kate Bush’s cerebral art-pop and the vibrant vulnerability of Robyn, all without sacrificing an ounce of Lucius’ own style and ingenuity. And though many of the melodies are synth-laden and steeped in endorphins, the lyrics are very much anchored in the uncertainty, fear, and difficult epiphanies Laessig and Wolfe faced as they wrote through their experiences—direct lines of dialogue seemingly pulled from their coffee talks. “Promises” pairs a sunny acoustic guitar line and sing-along chorus with the play-by-play of a break-up (“Promises, empty like the bed you sleep in/Broken like the spell you’re keepin’”), while “The Man I’ll Never Find” stuns with its poignant apologies (“I thought that it would be you/I wanted it to be you/And I’m sorry I was always looking for the man that I’ll never find”) as much as it does its grand, symphonic arrangement. When Molad first heard the latter, so clearly inspired by the heartbreak they shared, he told Wolfe it was the best song they’d ever written.
Many of the truths of Second Nature are hard to confront, but Lucius learned that there’s so much more to gain from facing the impossible than shying away from it—especially when you’ve got someone standing by your side through it all.
“It is a record that begs you not to sit in the difficult moments, but to dance through them,” says Wolfe. “It touches upon all these stages of grief, and some of that is breakthrough. 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.”