Swedish sisters First Aid Kit have gone from faraway teenage fans covering Fleet Foxes for fun to recording a blue series 7” of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘Universal Soldier’ with Jack White in his Nashville, TN Third Man studios.
This, their second album, was recorded in Spring 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, Monsters Of Folk). From the dynamic title track onwards, the sophomore album is a rich and stirring affair that expands upon the keen and sophisticated country tinged pop of their critically acclaimed debut.
‘The Lion’s Roar’ is a full band record, the Girls’ Father Benkt takes the bass, Mattias Bergqvist drums, while Mogis and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, and a cast of Omaha-based musicians round out the sound.
Album closer ‘King Of The World’ features the Felice Brothers, just passing through town during the session, and local hero Conor Oberst, who sings the last verse.
STAFF COMMENTSDavid says: First Aid Kit comprise two Swedish sisters, Klara and Joanna, who have seemingly spent their formative years wistfully watching their shadows grow long as the sun sets in the west, wishing themselves far away. Kicking up their heels in the dust of Texas. Sitting on a Tennessee porch, guitar in lap, with Cicadas as an evening accompaniment. Or, getting fitted for a nudie suit in North Hollywood circa 1969. Anything's better than the perpetual darkness of yet another never ending Stockholm winter.
More than just another cutesy, country folk album, "The Lion's Roar" is the love child of Gram Parsons' "Cosmic American Music". Tracing its family tree from Fleet Foxes, past The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, stopping off for a slow dance with The Everly Brothers, before arriving home at Sun Studios with Johnny Cash in Memphis 1955.
It's nothing new, of course, for musicians, especially young ones (and Klara and Joanna are frighteningly young) to reference their heroes in their own songs. The talent lies in being able to take something universal and make it sound like nobody ever thought to sing or play it that way before. Peter Buck, for example, was always bemused by the people who spent entire REM gigs watching him play guitar. "It's just G / C / D guys, G / C and D".
First Aid Kit fans would be equally disappointed. Indeed, there are, after all, no new chords waiting to be discovered yet therein lies the inherent beauty of "The Lion's Roar". It makes something that could - and perhaps even should - sound tired and old sound like...well...sound like a Piccadilly Records album of 2012.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP Info: LP is pressed onto 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and includes a download code for the entire album.
Ltd CD Info: New CD version with one bonus track.