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.

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