fri 24/03/2017

CD: First Aid Kit - Stay Gold | reviews, news & interviews

CD: First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

CD: First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

Swedish sisters follow up their technically perfect breakthrough album

There’s simply nobody on earth that sings like the Söderbergs
Stay Gold: First Aid Kit's third record will make it into a lot of hearts

Something about First Aid Kit has always seemed a little too polished, too perfect. While there can be no denying that their 2012 breakthrough record The Lion’s Roar is a rich, lovely listen – in no small part thanks to the charm of Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s effortless harmonies – its strict adherence to the trail blazed by its transatlantic influences kept me from finding it as magical as the rest of the world seemed to. If the question is how do two sisters from Stockholm follow something as technically perfect as that album on their major label debut, its first single “My Silver Lining” seemed like the answer: something of a country road-music song, on which the lively guitar work seemed for the first time to match the wildness the girls’ vocals always hinted at.

Sadly that track, which is also the album opener, is a bit of an anomaly on Stay Gold, an album which, like its predecessor, is gorgeous to listen to but lacks an unnameable something which would bump it up to greatness. The ingredients are there – there’s simply nobody on earth that sings like the Söderbergs, which was what made their guest turn on previous collaborator Conor Oberst’s recent album so instantly recognisable – but songs like “Shattered and Hollow” and “The Bell”, although lovely, melt away like the sunset that isn’t quite spectacular enough to photograph.

There are moments across these ten songs that are enough to make the listener catch her breath, the ones that hint at a new maturity to the sisters’ songwriting beyond their teenage aping of the Fleet Foxes songs that they listened to at home: the keening, desperate repetition of the final line of “Cedar Lane”; the matter-of-fact misery of the first verse of the deceptively sunny “Waitress Song”; the twinkling guitar line underpinning the otherwise fairly plodding “Master Pretender”. This record, like the last one, will find its way into many hearts. Mine must be bound just a little tighter than the rest of them.

Overleaf: watch the "My Silver Lining" video

"My Silver Lining" from the album Stay Gold


Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters