Perhaps one of the most surprising things about the band First Aid Kit is that the two-sister duo is so young. With an average age of less than twenty years, singers Joanna and Klara Söderberg manage to produce an incredibly mature sound. Hailing from Sweden, the band blends American indie, folk and country music styles to create a beautifully nostalgic album. The Lion’s Roar is the band’s second studio album, following 2010’s The Big Black and the Blue.
The title track and first single from the album, “The Lion’s Roar,” is one of the more powerful songs on the album. It uses a driving acoustic guitar, supported by subtle melodic flute and drums. The vocal harmonies on this song, as they are on all of the other songs, are spot on. Just one track into the album, it is clear that these girls can not only sing, but they can also write music.
Now I’m going to bring up the fact that these girls are from Sweden again. All of the music, however, sounds distinctly, well, American. It is clear that the Söderbergs have done their homework and listened to their fair share of classic American folk, rock and roll, and country music. They employ the use of a lap steel guitar well throughout their album, managing to never sound like an over-produced contemporary country musician. They even give a nod to the greats, like Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and June Carter in the song “Emmylou.”
One thing that sticks out on the album is a dark message being written into an uppity, cheerful tune. The fourth song on the album, “Blue,” is a good example of this. With lines like, “And the only man you’ve ever loved that you thought was gonna marry you died in a car accident when he was only 22.” Clearly, this is some heavy stuff, especially coming out these young sisters.
It’s often hard to hear lyrical content in music (which is why “baby” and “yeah” are probably the two most frequently used words in pop and rock music) but this band knows how to write well, and how to turn their words into beautiful melodies, and then those melodies into harmonies. Personally, I very much look forward to hearing what First Aid Kit comes out with as they get older. For now though, check out this band for a slice of good old Americana.
4 / 5 bars