First Aid Kit roars ahead on 2nd albumPublished 4:00pm Saturday, January 21, 2012
Leave it to a Swedish duo to bring a little warmth into the January music scene.
First Aid Kit, led by sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, show a wealth of promise on the group’s second album, “The Lion’s Roar.”
The sound drifts between country and folk, settling somewhere near to a musical cousin of Seattle’s Fleet Foxes.
Like Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit relies heavily on vocal harmonies backed by precise instrumentation — largely guitars, pianos, drums and winds.
However, First Aid Kit’s sound never reaches the grandiose, but ascends in subtle, controlled eloquence.
The Fleet Foxes comparisons only go so far. While Fleet Foxes rely on mountain folk that thrives in peaks and valleys, First Aid Kit broadens its sound outside the contours of folk.
“The Lion’s Roar” thrums down a steady path that touches on country and pop, but never settles firmly on any one.
“Emmylou” is a country-tinged tune with lightly pattering drums and Steele guitar for a sound that mixes the prairie with the girls’ native Sweden.
On “In the Hearts of Men” the girls briefly float between resembling acts like Feist and Cat Power. The album ends on its most of upbeat and catchy note with the spry “King of the World.”
First Aid Kit doesn’t follow the typical bare bones sound of other music duos like the Black Keys and the White Stripes. The sisters dream their ways across backing instruments of strings, organs and barren drums.
At a few moments, the lyrics stretch and expose some of the gears behind the music. But for most of the album, the lyrical style is direct and pointed.
Occasionally, the lyrics fall flat and raise an eyebrow.
The album rarely roars, but it steadily charms with a warm, inviting sound. Watch out for First Aid Kit’s future albums.