First Aid Kit’s lush, plush new album “Stay Gold”.

First Aid Kit's Stay Gold.

First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold.

Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara’s third album as First Aid Kit is as warm and sunny as its title Stay Gold would suggest. But it’s the gold of the sunset. There’s that sense of subtle transformation as the bright certainties of youth become tinged by the possibility of future disappointment and disillusion.

As they did with their second album The Lion’s Roar, reviewed earlier here, they’ve travelled to Omaha to hook up once more with Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes who takes up production duties again. But there’s a bigger, more expansive sound to the album this time around.

The bench mark for the two sisters is still the plaintive harmonies of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. But like Parsons before them, they’ve moved on from the sounds of Nashville to embrace a wider, unashamedly American panorama. As with Sharon Van Etten (reviewed earlier here) we’re back with Fleetwood Mac. But again, on the best of the latter’s very best days.

Johanna and Klara

Johanna and Klara Soderberg.

The boys from Pitchfork give Stay Gold an approving 7.3 here. You can get a taster with the video from the opening track from the album My Silver Lining here.

But best of all, if you want to understand, or at least eavesdrop on the sorts of harmonies produced by that sixth sense unique to siblings, then have a look at the acoustic version of Fleet FoxesTiger Mountain Peasant Song that they recorded in a wood here. It’s from all the way back in 2008 when the pair were about, oh, I’d say around seven years old.

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“The Lion’s Roar” From First Aid Kit, Sweden’s Answer To Emmylou And Alison Krauss.

first-aid-kit-lions-roarThe Lion’s Roar is the second album from Sweden’s First Aid Kit, comprising of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, both of whom are barely into their 20s. After their debut The Big Black And The Blue from 2010, they naturally gravitated to America to record their sophomore effort, turning to Mike Mogis to produce it.

As well as being one of the three core members of Nebraska’s stellar Bright Eyes, where he serves as producer and multi-instrumentalist, Mogis has also worked on albums by the likes of Jenny Lewis and her band Rilo Kiley, and M Ward and his, She And Him.

While there are clear echoes of Jenny Lewis throughout The Lion’s Roar, it’s Nashville’s Caitlin Rose that most readily springs to mind, whose debut Own Side Now I reviewed here earlier.

As with Rose, there’s a world weariness to the songs here that somehow manages to be credible, not withstanding the unlikelihood that either of the manifestly jejune siblings could ever have gravitated beyond mere mischief in their brief lives. And if the songs here sound ever so slightly less lived-in that those on Own Side Now, that can probably be put down to the added difficulty of having to pen them in a foreign language.

What’s so beguiling about this album, as with Rose’s, is the alchemical marriage of a timeless musical tradition, with a vocal delivery that rings of unblemished innocence and, there’s no other word for it, purity. This potent combination is then deployed to lament a prematurely crushed spirit and a permanently broken heart. It’s a heady mix.

The boys from Pravda gave it an impressed 7.6 http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16205-the-lions-roar/.

And the perceptive review there remarked with quiet surprise, that there aren’t too many girls who would try referencing Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons as the basis for a chat up line, as they do here on the second track, Emmylou. It’s not so much that there aren’t too many who’d get away with it. There aren’t too many who would try it, full stop. But they do, and it’s bewitching.

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