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First Aid Kit (from Palomino available on Columbia Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
The nom de plume for sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the Swedish duo First Aid Kit has established a formidable presence over the course of the six albums they’ve released since starting their music journey some twelve years ago. Palomino arrives on the heels of their live set, Who by Fire, a heartfelt tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen, and an effort that found them firmly tied to Folk traditions while also asserting their own place in that pantheon as well.
Happily, then, Palomino suggests that their efforts are neither calculated nor contrived. ‘We played Wild Horses on the car stereo’ they coo on the fittingly titled “Wild Horses II”. ‘You prefer The Rolling Stones and I like Gram’s’. It scarcely matters though. Given the song’s clear-eyed detail and descriptive verse about a road trip to far horizons, the narrative brings to mind visions of Laurel Canyon and the echoes of another era in dramatic detail. The songs that surround it share the same vivid imagery and expressive illumination, a sound swept up in rich, symphonic-sourced arrangements and the pair’s shimmering harmonies. It’s earnest yet emotive all at the same time, be it the vibrant feelings of desire found in “Out of My Head”, “Angel”, and “Nobody Knows” or the precise delivery given the sweetly soothing caress found in songs such as “A Feeling That Never Comes”, the title track, and the aforementioned “Wild Horses II”. It can seem a bit precious at times, but the feelings shared moot any sense of edifice or artificial intent.
‘Oh we are sensitive people, afraid to say the wrong thing’ they insist on “Ready to Run”, a song that recalls the unblemished emotion of Brandi Carlisle in particular. Still, First Aid Kit clearly hold their own as an individual entity well worthy of attention and admiration in their own regard. Their melodic prowess and persuasive approach create an indelible impression, one that allows each encounter to linger, sooth and inspire. What a remarkable record this is. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of First Aid Kit from AMAZON
Please go to the First Aid Kit website for more purchase and artist information
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