Album Review First Aid Kit - The Lion’s Roar

Heavenly harmonies and wistful string plucking. Nothing on ‘The Lion’s Roar’ sounds remotely out of place.

The touchstones of American country music – heavenly harmonies, wistful string plucking, images of melancholic reverie adrift in a timeless land populated by willowy women and leather faced banjo pluckers from the Deep South – are alive and well. In Stockholm, Sweden. First Aid Kit, comprised of the winsome-sounding Johanna and Klara Söderberg, certainly conform to the tropes of country music so effectively that their origin is of no real consequence. 
Despite being aged a mere 18 and 21 years old respectively, the duo’s lyrics chime with stories of lost loves, dissatisfied housewives and the trials and stresses of the daily 9-5 grind.

Nothing on ‘The Lion’s Roar’ sounds remotely out of place. Vocals, sparse acoustic backings, gentle snare brushing, the occasional stab of a mellotron all create a very pristine listening experience. A little too pristine perhaps: if First Aid Kit are attempting to evince a landscape of campfire sessions and return-to-the-countryside vibe, then it sounds like an almost too deliberate and calculating jump on to the already brimming bandwagon, steered by Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and any other beardy recluse you can care to mention.

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, along with the Felice Brothers (who just happened to be passing through as the girls were recording, isn’t such serendipity a joy to behold!), joins the fray for closing track ‘King Of The World’ where they sing of their ‘fake laugh suddenly sounding sincere.’ I’m not sure if such honesty is deliberate but it doesn’t really wash; surely young Swedish girls have far better things to be doing than intensely detailing the ups and downs of (presumably) other people’s marriages.

 

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