“Bittersweet” is the word the Soderberg sisters prefer. “We like bittersweet songs, songs that affect you differently depending on how you interpret them,” says Klara, the younger of the Swedish siblings that make up First Aid Kit. “Making the melodies and lyrics head in different directions is very deliberate,” adds big sister Johanna, “A song like ‘Emmylou’ sounds cheerful, but the lyrics are the saddest thing you ever heard.”
This carefully constructed collection deftly succeeds in setting references to their home town of Stockholm and long dark Scandinavian winters against an unforced backdrop of country-rock swing.
The Lion's Roar, recorded in Omaha by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, millions more), 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. From the dynamic title track onwards, it's more honky-tonk than campfire, and no less affecting for that.
First Aid Kit have gone from faraway teenage fans covering Fleet Foxes for fun to recording a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's ‘Universal Soldier’ with Jack White at his request and in his Nashville, TN Third Man studio. “I think of it now as like a dream, too good to be true,” says Johanna of the session, happily and hurriedly squeezed into last autumn's tour schedule.
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