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

posted on Feb.23, 2012

First Aid Kit
“The Lion’s Roar”
Hailing From: Sweden
Release Number: 2nd Full Length Album
Genre: Indie Folk
Label: Wichita

First Aid Kit is composed of Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg.  The band got their start in 2007 with the release of their first demo.  Much like many bands today, First Aid Kit acquired more recognition through their YouTube videos, predominantly their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”.   The group released their first full length album, “The Big Black & The Blue”, in 2010.  In early 2011, the group performed with Bright Eyes, a collaboration which may have led to Mike Mogis, of Bright Eyes, producing “The Lion’s Roar”. The acquisition of Mogis to the team has definitely proven to be a great addition and has offered the group a more polished sound with this new release. Whatever combination the Söderberg sisters have going is definitely working for them.

8/10

The album starts off with its self-titled track “The Lion’s Roar” which definitely sets the tone.  The song has a force behind it’s lyrics that shows a more rugged side to the sisters.  The track also has a waltz tempo which is a nice mix-up from the other songs on the album.  In juxtaposition to the first track, next comes “Emmylou”, a sweet love song which alludes to the relationships between Johnny Cash and June Carter, and Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons.  “Emmylou” has more of a western/country feel than some of the other tracks which is a nice change of pace.  The song offers a lovely melody with an equally stunning harmony in the bridge.  “In the Hearts of Men” is a beautifully simple track which utilizes guitar and minimal percussion to bring the focus in on the lyrics which speak of day to day life and human interaction.  By including background ooh’s and vocal riffs, the attention is brought to the lyrics.

The Album takes a turn with the song “Blue”, which offers a much more upbeat rhythm and melody.  It’s a nice mid album mix up from the solemnity saturated tracks that precede and follow.  The song utilizes the hammer dulcimer to offer a different instrumental combination as well.  “To A Poet” is an acoustic song which speaks of the monotony of life without the one you love in it, with lyrics like “Now I miss you more than I can take/and I will surely break/And every morning that I wake/god, it’s the same/There’s nothing more to it,/I just get through it”. The track finishes off with a strong bridge with minimal guitar that has an almost threatening tone and then follows with a long instrumental section to wind down the song.  The album ends on a strong not, with the song “King of the World” which is an upbeat optimistic sounding track.  The song talks about how insignificant life is but how we need to conquer and take charge of it.

First Aid Kit delivers a strong second album which is full of deep sincere lyrics and bewitching harmonies, as a result of the sisters’ perfectly complementary voices.  With most songs on the album being relatively long, one feels they are getting a lot of bang for their buck when they listen.  In addition to well produced tracks, which are in part a result of Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis working on the album with the girls, the songs themselves offer variety while still sticking within the genre of indie folk. Without a doubt, “The Lion’s Roar” is a highly successful release which will leave listeners in anticipation of what this up and coming group will crank our next.

- Heather Koenig, Music Staff


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