First Aid Kit

The Lion’s Roar

Wichita

Jan 24, 2012 Issue #39 - Best of 2011 Bookmark and Share


 

To hear First Aid Kit is to undergo a restructuring of what geography means to music. It turns out that the best country-tinged folk album released in 2012 may very well come not from Georgia or the Carolinas or Nebraska or even Washington, but from Sweden. For those who weren’t familiar with the duo’s 2010 album The Big Black & The Blue, there’s nothing within the music to suggest anything but the greatest parts of Americana. When they sing, “I’ll be your Emmylou/And I’ll be your June/And you’ll be my Graham/And my Johnny, too,” on their exquisite album The Lion’s Roar, nothing feels disingenuous about it. If anything, the existence of First Aid Kit is an affirmation of the power of music, and of its global reach.

The Big Black & The Blue was a relatively stripped-down album, pretty much sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg playing guitars, surrounded occasionally by a piano, but mostly just the two of them, with their big, exhilarating voices and little else. The Lion’s Roar finds the Söderbergs under the wing of Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, who elevates them to another level entirely.

The title track, an aching ballad of busted relationships announces First Aid Kit as a fully-fledged musical experience. The song swings with the dynamics of the best works of Conor Oberst (who appears on the album’s closing “King of the World”) and the album flows from there. The shattering “To a Poet” speaks of the difficulty of loss and longing, “Oh, there’s nothing more to it/I just get through it.”

Throughout, the lyrics ring with honesty and charm, the phrasing gently off at times, emphasizing a missed moment, a passing fancy. Because like all good country, First Aid Kit roots itself firmly in the soil, and where that soil sits becomes immaterial. (www.thisisfirstaidkit.com

 

Author rating: 8/10

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Tom
February 2nd 2012
3:51am

Great album…umm in the the song ‘Emmylou’ though the line name is Gram not Graham…as in Gram Parsons and Emmylou yeah?