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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5 Best Albums of 2012.

first-aid-kit-lions-roar5. First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar. The second album from Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, barely into their 20s, arrived at the beginning of the year. Reviewed by me earlier here, it’s a pitch-perfect concoction of dreamy Americana, draped, carefully, in the cloak of melancholia.

4. Metz, Metz. The talk of the town at this year’s CMJ – see my review earlier here – the trio from Toronto produce a torrent of visceral noise fuelled by the adrenalin of undiluted but carefully channeled youth.

Soar3. Dexys, One Day I’m Going To Soar. News that Kevin Rowland and Dexys were about to resurface with a new album and an accompanying tour was met, understandably, with skepticism and trepidation. Remarkably, as I reported earlier here, both were a minor sensation. A glorious and painfully honest album that continues to glow.

2. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange. In an ever so slightly disappointing year, this is the one album on everyone’s end of year list. Reviewed by me earlier here, this is as lyrically complex as it is musically sophisticated. And its genre-hopping confidence suggests that an heir to the regal Prince might finally have emerged.

Katie Kim "Cover & FLood"1. Katie Kim, Cover & Flood. When this album came out last February it somewhat slipped under the radar. Which is most unfair as, as I wrote in my earlier review here, Katie Kim pulls off the significant feat of being as remarkable in the studio as she is on stage. And this, her second album, is a hauntingly evocative work that conjures up an impressively moody dreamscape.

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