The first time I heard First Aid Kit, composed of doe-eyed Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, I had stumbled across their melancholic ballad "Ghost Town" on an episode of NPR’s Echoes. From the very first, when I heard them croon, “Maybe I should just turn around and walk away / For no matter how much I want to stay / You know I can’t / It’s just too late”, I was hooked. How could two people so young tap so ably into the defeated resignation that comes with the death of dreams? I explored more of their music, and with the 2014 breakout album Stay Gold, I was hooked on the Söderbergs' angelic harmonies, piercing lyrics, and ability to render even cover songs into something distinctly theirs.
Released earlier this month, their latest album, Ruins, has been much-anticipated—and judging by the reviews (and my own repeated listens), it doesn't disappoint. Recorded in the wake of the younger Klara’s broken engagement, Ruins shows clearly that these sisters—whose career launched when they were teens—have real-world emotional experience to back up their musings. The album reflects a gentle evolution of their folk-Americana style, blending in some country elements, as in the wry single "Postcard," which entreats a departed lover, “Send me a postcard / When you get to where you're going / Send me a line / To everything you've left behind”. The rollicking number “It’s a Shame” reveals the gusto with which these ladies can belt out their tunes; if you listen to the ballads “Fireworks” and “Nothing Has to Be True” in the right (or wrong) frame of mind, you’re left absolutely gutted.
First Aid Kit has just embarked upon a sold-out American tour. But even if you can’t see them live, you can become a fan of their music: borrow it from the Library today.
Review by Melissa B.