Review of The Big Black And The Blue Album by First Aid Kit

Review of First Aid Kit's album The Big Black And The Blue released through Wichita Recordings.

First Aid Kit The Big Black And The Blue Album

Arr, kids these days hey! Good for nothing wasters that'll never amount to anything. Is that how it goes? How it is passed from one generation to the next? What then should we make of two Swedish teenage sisters, Klara and Johanna Soderberg, 16 & 19, from Eskede, Stockholm, Sweden that are able to deliver such a glorious and sublime record that carries with it a maturity and majesty befitting rock royalty? Well, scratch all previously prejudiced and outdated thinking and start embracing your Scandinavian cousins. Rather like Women's Wimbledon Champions, it would appear that the queens of the indi folk scene shall wear their crowns on ever younger heads.

This ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is First Aid Kit. (No not the 5 piece post punk outfit of the same name from Connecticut!) 'The Big Black And The Blue' is the duos first full length album and is the follow up to their 2008 EP, 'Drunken Trees'.

When Laura Marling released 'Alas I Cannot Swim' in February 2008, days after her eighteenth birthday, few people failed to be bewildered by the depth and range of her songs. I am in no doubt that 'The Big Black And The Blue' will have much the same effect. 11 songs of pure joy, perfectly and harmoniously balanced. 'In The Morning', a multi-layered vocal delight sets you on your way perfectly....

'In the morning, on your journey to the sea
in the mountains your shadow's beside me,
you cross the pasture land
and threw your wedding band
into the grey deep,
where you'd rest you'd sleep,
my dear, my dear...'

Up next is 'Hard Believer', a number made to fit the phrase 'stand out track', and it certainly ups the ante. If ever there was song made in homage to another, but probably without intention, I would have to nominate Hard Believer as a very good candidate for The Smiths seminal/classic 'Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want'. It's a gorgeous balance of beautiful music and hard lyrical truths. (I don't think Ferris Bueller would even mind it on his next art gallery visit). 'Waltz For Richard' is a stripped back guitar and vocal so purely and hauntingly delivered you begin to question whether there may ever have been a 'childhood' as such in the Soderberg household. The momentum and quality rarely falter throughout the album. 'Heavy Storm' does not disappoint with it's tale of deep seated believe and somewhat bitter truths.....'he (her brother) used play on an un-tuned guitar while he sang about me and he sang about the stars, I used to dream about another town but now its all clear that's the only time I wish would come back.'

The album may contain a fresh and youthful zest but it nevertheless still manages to stir and brood in its darker imagery. There is still a sense of your deeply troubled dissociated Scandinavian about much of the album. (Not many could sing about someone's mother looking innocent like a stillborn). At times the Swedish chill in the air is almost palpable. It's an album built on broken relationships, tough love, deluded images and stifled emotions, and, it's fantastic.

The over-layered harmonies that run the course of the album never tire. The thread woven by the likes of Laura Marling is evident on more than a couple of the tracks and even a flavour of Morcheeba can be found on 'A Window Opens'. The need for no more than the bare minimum instrumentally means that the vocals and lyrics shine ever brighter. Overall the 11 tracks float majestically along and produce some marvellous moments that defy the age of their protagonists.

With a huge tour booked for 2010, starting in February, FAK are set for big things. Buy the album and catch them if you can.

Andrew Lockwood.


Site - http://www.myspace.com/thisisfirstaidkit



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