Album Review: First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

By on Tuesday, 17th June 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Swedish duo First Aid Kit open their third album with lyrics that include “I won’t take the easy road”, and I wondered if they really were brave enough to do just that. After a captivating debut album and a typical sophomore effort, this third outing had the band backed by a major label (Columbia) for the first time. Were they going to be brave enough to take the positives a major can offer them without falling prey to the encumbrances such a deal can demand? After a thoughtful listen or two, I think it is safe to say that Johanna and Klara Söderberg have a good grasp of what works for them, they took what they needed from the industry machine and managed to stay true to their original sound.

‘Stay Gold’ is an album full of beautiful sorrow and exhortations to stay true to oneself. The title track itself wistfully wonders at the hard work of life and the inevitable pitfalls that only make one wish for an easier path to love. With repeated allusions to having to move on, undoubtedly referencing their nomadic lifestyle as touring musicians, an overall theme of loss and transiency is woven into the album. This LP is darker than the albums that preceded it but still retains the brightness that comes with the gorgeous harmonies of the sisters. Staying very true to their ‘70s flavoured folk style, the songs ring with light and clarity despite the more meaningful lyrics that lurk within the tunes.

The band also benefitted greatly from the add-ons a label can offer; their sound is a little richer, a little fuller than before. Indeed, full orchestration swells under a few songs such as ‘My Silver Lining’ and a perfectly understated flute captures the exact essence of ‘The Bell’. ‘Waitress Song’ soars through the middle of the album and even invokes a bit of Cyndi Lauper’s sentiment of having fun. The lyrics are a sad tale of trying to get over a bad break-up, but the story is told in a way that everyone can recognize. The Söderberg sisters still have a very clear preference for American country and folk; that style is now their style replete with pedal steel on ‘Master Pretender’ and the nearly two-step sound found on ‘Heaven Knows’. Fortunately, they carry it off well. The mournful piano ballad ‘A Long Time Ago’ closes out the experience with a soft letting go and leaves us quiet and contemplative.

Still exceedingly young (seriously, Klara is only 21 and has three full length releases and a major label deal under her belt!), the sisters have not only a lot of life left in their careers, but also a lot of life yet to live. If they can write songs with such depth and maturity at this point, it will be interesting to see what they develop as they experience life more fully.

First Aid Kit’s third album ‘Stay Gold’ is out now on Columbia Records. The sisters are scheduled to tour the UK in September. For more information on First Aid Kit, visit their official Web site.

Tags: , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us