First Aid Kit, aka duo Johanna and Klara Söderberg, first got chins wagging when they posted a cover of Fleet Foxes' ballad Tiger Mountain Peasant Song on Youtube. A couple of million hits and an album later, they return with their second long-player, which is their first full-band effort and was recorded in Omaha with producer Mike Mogis, while their dad played bass.
Following on from their debut, and also retaining their love for Fleet Foxes, the Swedish sisters deliver beautiful, swooning and sweeping folk which sounds far more American than it does Swedish. The album's foreboding title track opens things up with a sense of honesty that flows throughout. “I'm a god damn coward/But, then again, so are you,” the siblings sing with conviction before the mood is lightened by the beautiful country of obvious single, Emmylou. “I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June, if you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too,” they chirp, in a song that gives a clear nod to the band's influences. The harmonious breakdown of the catchy-yet-gloomy To a Poet illustrates the pair's strong vocals. They sing with a crystal clarity that suits the sound of a record which manages to create a warm, textured atmosphere while remaining clean-sounding and unfussy.
The record ends with joyously ramshackle hoe-down King of the Road. A hand-clappy, upbeat Mariachi romp, it features The Felice Brothers and Conor Oberst – a sign that First Aid Kit are making friends in all the right places. If they keep on putting out such charming and emotionally engaging music, they will surely continue to make a whole lot more friends and fans.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.