The Swedish folk duo known as First Aid Kit found Americana via Bright Eyes and never looked back. Comprised of two sisters with elastic vocals and galloping twang melodies, First Aid Kit now have a fixed place in country-folk. Their recent album, Stay Gold, brings in Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes as producer. Replete with bold productions and baroque orchestras, the album impresses.
First Aid Kit can dazzle in multiple ways. They have a gift for finding majestic melody. Equally well, they can turn a phrase and get you thinking. They have the clout to attract luminary producers and thirteen piece orchestras, and can impress with masterpiece recordings. Like an ace pitcher, they’ll mix up their stuff enough to for sure strike you out.
“Waitress Song” has a Dylan-like lyrical approach as a free-thinking, headstrong protagonist tries to resolve Big Question confusions. “I could move to a small town and become a waitress. Say my name was Stacy and I was figuring things out.” The lyrics disarm in their inwardness and reflectivity, highlighting First Aid Kit’s storytelling acumen.
“Shattered and Hollow” stands out in its melodic sophistication. The band places vocals in space well, creating interesting energy and drama. The chorus goes falsetto and has an ethereal quality. The entire track features excellent harmonizing by the two female vocalists. The song underscores that First Aid Kit can pen an unforgettable melody that reaches another level.
Mike Mogis employs his characteristic delicacy in the production. While the tracks have heavy instrumentation, they never feel heavy-handed. Instead, Mogis provides a pristine canvas for the Swede sisters to work on. He successfully manages the tough task of incorporating many sounds while never allowing all that noise to get in the way of the artistry.
At just ten tracks, the album never drags. It’s too short to sound repetitive and First Aid Kit displays enough variety to keep interest. Only in their young twenties, the sisters’ making up First Aid Kit have a promising future ahead of them. While this album undoubtedly succeeds, somehow it also leaves you with the feeling that they might do even better in the future – an exciting prospect.