Album Reviews

First Aid Kit – The Big Black And The Blue

(Wichita) UK release date: 25 January 2010


On face value, Johanna and Klara S�derberg – 19 and 16respectively – shouldn’t have blackened hearts or a taste ofbitterness in their mouths. But their brand of Sweden-bred folkportrayed in The Big Black And The Blue suggestsotherwise.

Take Hard Believer for starters. Jolly, simplistic majorchords and full teeth smiles are swept aside by the dismissal ofreligion and the admittance that “time is rough on me”. Their (albeitlimited range of) guitar playing takes the polar opposite direction totheir lyrics and the sisters come off as a pair very experienced inthe hardships of modern life.

Folk with a touch of melancholy took a surge whenbands such as Midlake and Fleet Foxes (whose material the girls have covered) rose to considerable acclaim overthe past decade. Their acoustic-centred take on atypically bright and sunny genre looks set to remain in the public eye, but while it’d be startlingly obvious to dismiss First Aid Kit as naive andinexperienced in such company, they avoid such criticism by scattering references to sadness and regret across this, their first full length album. This approach has more of an impact given that both singer-songwriters are so tender and young. Their voices match like jigsaw pieces, naturally; a sisterlycombination, one husky and grieving, one light and fluffy.

Waltz For Richard tells of a lover departing by sea,cynically asking “Of course I was going to lose you. Were you evereven there?” In A Window Opens they quip: “I would just liketo stay here, and not say a word, maybe I’d see it in clarity, for I’dsay nothing at all”. The artwork accompanies this loss of hopeperfectly; a lone child stands, lute in hand, vacantly looking toone side as a blackened sea and domineeringlt yellow moon sit grimly in thebackground.

What many of us forget is that being a teenager can be the toughestof times. By the sounds of it, both sisters have been through theirfair share of break-ups, and they have, with guts, allowed thisplatform of a debut album to express their beaten and battered-atthoughts. The result is a collection of remarkably accomplished songs.With age, their early lyrical maturity can only blossom.


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