Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Aid Kit: "The Lion's Roar" and "Ghost Town"

First Aid Kit is the remarkably talented Swedish duo comprised of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg.

And what's amazing is not just how talented they are but how talented they are so young -- Johanna is 21, Klara just 18.

They've already released an EP, 2008's Drunken Trees, and two albums, 2010's The Big Black and The Blue and 2012's The Lion's Roar. (My first encounter with them was the song "Ghost Town," off the first album, which I bought on iTunes as a single.)

Our youth-infatuation culture is full of young people making shit and becoming stars. The Söderberg sisters are the exception.

Which is not to say they're perfect. There's certainly room for development in their music. At times it can be bland and dull, too quaint and folksy. Each album contains some wonderful songs, but perhaps not enough to sustain a full album. But those vocals are incredible, and the potential is enormous.

You can be snarkily skeptical, as Paul Lester was in The Guardian in 2008, when the sisters were just 18 and 15, writing that "[i]t's great to be able to tell stories and imagine scenarios, it's great to be able to empathise with people of all ages, sexes and creeds, but we're not convinced it's so great that they ditched Britney for Dylan and Cohen, as they apparently did when they were 'younger'"; that what they write about, dealing with some rather advanced subject matters, like "the minutiae of some old couple's ruined marriage," is "a different kind of creepy; like they're creeping up to some invisible authenticity monitor"; and that, basically, they should stick to singing more age-appropriate pop tunes, but what's wrong with being mature for one's age, for being interested in something other than, say, whatever Britney's interested in? I'll take First Aid Kit's observations about the complexity of life over Lester's dismissive condescension any day.

Anyway, let me just encourage you to give them a serious listen without preconceived judgement. Go listen to "Ghost Town," to me one of their two best songs. Or the other, "The Lion's Roar," the video of which is right here. Enjoy.

Alright, here's "Ghost Town" as well:


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