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First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

Lisa Bentley


Sister duo Johanna and Kiara Soderberg aka First Aid Kit, have been garnering attention from industry press for their contribution to the world of folk music. This attention has not been unjustly given. With two long playing albums released – The Lion’s Roar (2012) and The Big Black and the Blue (2010) – the Swedish duo are cultivating and enhancing an ever growing genre of music.

This is an album that you can really immerse yourself in. It is rich in sound with sumptuous multi-layered textures; a quality that is most present on track Emmylou. Previously a single for the duo, the song features Mike Mogis (M. Ward, She & Him and Bright Eyes) playing the pedal steel which really makes the track sound outstanding. There is a perfect ensemble partnership on this track; production, lyrics, vocals and musicianship all combining to make a glorious song and there are so many elements to it that it is hard to pick out which one gives the song its heart.

Yet this is just one track, and there are so many to give praise to. Lyrically there is a verisimilitude of emotions; the cutting lyrics ‘I’m a goddam coward but then so are you’ from title track The Lion’s Roar to the paradox that is track four, Blue, which expresses a plethora of inexplicably sad lyrics but makes you feel oddly upbeat. With Dance To Another Tune you hear the most expressive and most fluid of songs on the album, featuring impressive piano percussion and an intoxicating harp quality before moving on to an epic string accompaniment for the close. Words do not do it justice; this is one of those magical albums that can reach you in ways you never really imagined.

The album is chock full of impressively organic sounds, a sound that is often hard to find on a bands early album, it is one born of experience not chance. The ten tracks featured on The Lion’s Roar play for little over forty minutes, but in that reasonably short length of time you are given such beautiful access into their sound that you are left hungry for more.