Album Review: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

FIRST AID KIT
Need more awesome? Listen to our FAVORITE SONGS OF 2014. Make sure you don't miss any tunes: FOLLOW US ON TWITTER.

B | 01.24.11 | Domino | Stream | MP3 | CD | Vinyl

At first listen to First Aid Kit’s music, it is not hard to imagine a band of well-seasoned folk veterans. Upon further listening, however, their sound reveals a sweet wistfulness that betrays their age. With a layered and weathered sound, it becomes hard to believe the vocals come from two sisters barely out of, or still in, their teens (Johanna Soderberg, 22, and Klara Soderberg 19). Releasing their sophmore album, The Lion’s Roar, this sister duo from Sweden grabs attention quickly with plucky guitar and standard folk harmonies, but it is their vocals that isolate themselves and ultimately demand attention.

Produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, this is an album that stays true to the basics of folk. The soaring vocals and echoes make it quite clear from where they draw influence: First Aid Kit’s layered harmonies drive each song in a way not unlike how Fleet Foxes’ guide their songs. “Dance to Another Tune” and “I Found A Way” sound as if they could be solemn Fleet Foxes covers. Unsurprisingly, First Aid Kit got their first real exposure with a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” that was uploaded to YouTube and quickly spread, culminating in an appearance with the band at a tour stop in Sweden. Watching the video makes it clear why their music has been catching on. With a rough look, as if they were any of the random would-be teenage singers strumming a guitar on YouTube, the voices that come out of their almost cherub-looking faces were quite surprising and beautiful.

While the vocals drive the album, it is the varied instrumentation used throughout that sustain it. The duo has an old fashioned appeal, but is updated with more current sounding layers and echoed vocals. The echoing can become a bit wearisome throughout, but the variations in song makes up for it by offering up a little bit of something for every mood conceivable. Slow, melodic, solemn tones drive the first and title track “The Lion’s Roar”, while songs like “Blue” and “King of the World” have a knee-slapping, upbeat vibe, and “Emmylou” and “This Old Routine” have an old-school country music lean. Standout track “To A Poet” somehow has all of these characteristics combined, starting with simple and soft harmonies and guitar, and building into a crescendo of sound.

There is a little something for everyone within all this variation, offering up a nostalgic folk feeling with a current ethereal tone pulled from their influences. Yet with all of these variations and styles incorporated, they manage to stay focused on their core- an old school folksy sound that permeates each song on the album. With a persistence, it becomes an album that continues to grow with each listen – an attribute that will only contribute to the growth of this duo to watch. – Rachel McFarland

Listen to ‘The Lion’s Roar’ in its entirety here.

What did you think?
 65  22  3  3
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
Music

Releases single “Mr Noah” and Mr Noah EP.

SXSW-W
News

Other artists include Twin Peaks, Bishup Nehru, the Dodos, Alvvays, and more

HAERTS-HAERTS-608x608
Music

The up-and-coming indie pop band release two new tracks in anticipation of their self-titled debut, which drops next week

annie4
Music

Check out a new video of the Australian pop star’s contribution to the new Annie soundtrack

mystery skulls forever
Music

Look no further to get rid of some winter blues.

Capture
Music

Hear a new Nina Simone-sampling track from the New York duo

rihanna
News

Fans have uncovered what appears to be an internal Roc Nation memo.

Shy-Glizzy-Awwsome-Remix-608x608
MP3

Hear a new remix of the Washington D.C. rapper’s underground anthem

ought once more
Music

Plus, watch a video for “New Calm Pt. 2.”