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First Aid Kit’s third offering is almost there

Published 4:32pm Saturday, June 7, 2014

First Aid Kit’s third album, “Stay Gold,” is a pleasant production that struggles to become something more.

Sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg return with personal lyrics that often struggle to pierce through the duo’s sweet-sounding country-folk. “Stay Gold” follows the group’s 2012 breakout “The Lion’s Roar,” which received largely positive reviews and included the popular song “Emmylou.”

The band’s most recent album is endlessly sweet-sounding and early on it’s consistent almost to a fault. But the roughly 38-minute album grows more diverse in its second half with songs like “Heaven Knows,” which instills some needed life into the album as a swinging country romp.

Much of the album is introspective, like the title track “Stay Gold,” as the sisters sing “What if my hard work ends in despair? What if the road won’t take me there?”

First Aid Kit plays like the country cousin of Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons. The sisters first propelled themselves into the spotlight through a Youtube cover of “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” by Fleet Foxes.

While First Aid Kit reaches to more lyrical depth, the band falls a bit between country-pop singles and introspection. Though songs like “My Silver Lining” prove pleasant, the first half of the album struggles to find its punch and breakthrough, which makes the upbeat “Heaven Knows” stand out and wonder where that kind of energy was on the rest of the album.

Regardless, the sisters have a knack for instilling something into the songs that burrows in your mind and surface hours later.

Other listens

First Aid Kit first gained online notoriety by covering the Fleet Foxes song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” on Youtube.

In the self-titled debut album, Fleet Foxes craft an album of lush folk. It’s an album you want to listen to while growing a beard in the mountains. For those of us in the flatlands of Minnesota, it’s still a great album for sunny summer days.

The album was recorded before the band had signed with a record label, and the band played funded the recording themselves.

Key songs: “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” “Blue Ridge Mountains” and “Ragged Wood.”

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