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

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.

Sign up right or below for a sub­scrip­tion and I shall keep you post­ed every week on All the Very Best and Worst in Film, Tele­vi­sion and Music.