Lucid’s newest release, Dirt, could not be released at a more ideal time. As we emerge from a winter that destroyed many of our spirits, to warm weather that has seemed like a great reward in recent weeks, this is the perfect soundtrack. This north country sextet, from Plattsburgh, NY, brings a smooth blend of jazz, reggae, soul-filled rock with tastes of different flavors of world music together on a record that shines with overwhelming positive hope and all around feel-good vibes. This will surely be the summertime soundtrack to many sunrises, afternoons in the outdoors with a cold beverage and warm nights fireside with friends.
The opening track “Cuerpo” is warm and inviting, a perfect start to the album. With beautiful harmonies from not only the voices of Lucid but a guest female voice as well. This song feels a bit lighter for the band as it’s soothing and beautiful with only small hints of the horns that will fill the rest of the album. A great introduction to what is going to be a ride through genres and styles that feels as good as sipping a cup of coffee on a north country morning with a mountain view.
From there the album kicks up the tempo a bit, reminding us why Lucid has been found on so many festival lineups throughout the past few years, they know how to get people moving. On the fourth track “Skippin’,” an uplifting song with great grooves accented by saxophone lines in all the right places, they sing such memorable lines in the chorus’ that you’ll be singing along by the song’s end. These guys can jam in a live setting but on record the longer tracks are just long enough. They move along to a new sound and a new track when the time is right, likely keeping those less accustomed to extended songs feeling good without getting bored. Though you will likely get lost in many of these tracks and feel an appreciation for Lucid’s musicianship and message, giving you time to appreciate the sounds and also your surroundings. As mentioned before, this is truly a perfect soundtrack for this hot spring that Upstate NY is enjoying right now. Some of the songs have a strong island feel and who doesn’t want that when sitting lakeside, or cruising around with the windows down a summer day?
The only downside to the record is perhaps a song or two where lyrics get a bit repetitive, or a part is carried on only just a bit too long. Even on the third track “People” when the words may lean a bit cheesy. They do it in a way that is quirky and and adorable, think a troop of Muppets jamming out, heads bobbing along. This is a band that knows how to make a listener smile. Especially on goofy interludes where they find themselves in a mess of clucking chickens, yes, that’s a real thing on this album, and it’s a perfect reminder that even with a sometimes more thoughtful message that this band never takes themselves too seriously for their own good.
Later in the album they incorporate a bit of blues harmonica on “Break A Man,” that is followed by big soulful vocals. Then the harmonica drops out, letting the keys and saxophone take charge with melodies that dance with one another, this is a track that will surely bring on hoots and howls in the live setting. Throughout the record the combination of smooth yet strong vocal harmonies, great musicianship and their ability to sway from style to style so naturally makes this a great listen start to finish. Lucid has been doing what they do for years, and it shows, growing their sound from the dirt up to places that are inspirational, uplifting, and also all around feel-good fun.
Bottom line, get this album as soon as you can and it will naturally weave itself into the fabric of your summer.
Key tracks: “Skippin'” “Psychedelic Circus” “Simmer on Down”