First Aid Kit, the sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg , started making music when they were young teenagers, creating a demo tape that got decent air time in Sweden; not a year later, they received some internet fame from their cover of “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” on YouTube. Their 2010 debut The Big Black & The Blue received generally positive reviews, critics showering praise upon their “gorgeous melodies and heart-melting harmonies,” and their sophomore release is just as high on their folk-angel voices as ever.
“The Lion’s Roar” struck out in 2010 with an urgency packed full of country sound, Klara yowling “But don’t you come here and say I didn’t warn you/About the way your world can alter” over a fiddle and mournful guitar. Each song is easy-paced and deliberate — there is nothing that makes you want to square-dance out of your seat, just lots of stuff to get your heart and mind yearning for the open country (I say “open” because the vocals have a constant echo, like they’re singing into a vast canyon). The Lion’s Roar had a hand in from producer Mike Mogis, who mixed the girls’ voices into the center of every track without overshadowing the simple orchestration, arranging music that can hold its own alongside the likes of Fleet Foxes (which the duo actually got to do on one of their tours). Top it all off with simple, poignant lyrics like ”Don’t make no mistakes and don’t regret/Don’t waste the time that is left” (“In the Hearts of Men”) and “So the morning came and swept the night away/as I was looking for a way to disappear” (“I Found a Way”), and you have an album full of good, hardy music that can make even a city-slickers’ heart swell. Go folk yourself.
Stream: “The Lion’s Roar”