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The Big Black and The Blue

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Amazon's First Aid Kit Store


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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Wichita
  • ASIN: B002SIWNMA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,404 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

BBC Review

Big-voiced Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg make their intentions perfectly clear on MySpace: “We aim for the hearts, not the charts”. Commendable, but given the pressure on any artist to perform well commercially – different targets for different troupes, granted, but targets nonetheless – perhaps a little naively idealistic.

The Big Black & the Blue is, expectedly, not an album that will top any countdown this side of a dramatic and unforeseen folk revolution. First Aid Kit’s debut is all delicate picks and humble strums, where many girls its makers’ age – they were born in 1990 and 1993 – match their pulses to the skip-along sounds of the pop Top 40. Though the Söderbergs once sang along to Britney hits, their original fare is of the world-weary, heavy-hearted variety; disregard acknowledgment of their age and one could assume these voices sing from experience, not fanciful imagination.

It’s also tough to trace the roots of this material to Scandinavia’s fertile musical soil, as its primary touchstones are artists exclusively of stateside lineage – the bruised, soul-exposed lo-fi Americana of Bill Callahan; Cat Power’s spare, smoke-trail-detailed evocations; the soft-focus dynamics of Midlake and Fleet Foxes. As such questions can be posed, as to the ‘authenticity’ of First Aid Kit’s repertoire; but so finely accomplished is the sisters’ execution that doubts are soon dismissed.

While songs are, at times, little more than sketches – embellishments are at a premium, much on offer bare-boned and probably better for it – there’s only ever one element that’s properly illuminated: the vocals. And the sisters can sing, wonderfully so, uncommon richness wrapping itself around syllables drawled with all the ache of an individual battered by the conflicts of love, but stubbornly still standing. They can hold the listener in a trance-like state, the grip only broken when a sharp acoustic cuts the cord to mark the arrival of another song. 

Familiarity does threaten to impose itself, as structures vary little from number to number, a template adhered to tightly. But these 11 tracks wisely elect not to outstay their welcome, ensuring that repeat experiences are enjoyable, if not markedly memorable. They might not always connect with the listener on an emotionally deep level, but there’s the suggestion that, with just a little development, those hearts are First Aid Kit’s for the taking on album two. Theirs are clearly in the right place. --Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Price TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Feb. 2010
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
What an absolutely incredible record this is!
Its like the whole folk movement of the 60s didn't happen till now.
Fragile beauty runs seamlessly through each track.
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan must be the TEENAGE sisters grandparents.
A timeless classic that gets better with every listen.
Maturity far beyond their years just what the future bring is anyone's guess.
Going by this record life can only help enrich an already well executed take on life's twists and turns.
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This beautiful album by Swedish sisters Klara and
Johanna Soderberg displays extraordinary musical
maturity and technical dexterity given that they
are only 16 and 19 years old respectively.

The sound they make, however, is as old as Methuselah.

The radiant simplicity and purity of vocal tone displayed
in these twelve economical arrangements is magical.
Their voices combine in harmonies which possess the
capacity to express complex and convincing emotion.

The Roches (sisters Maggie, Terre and Suzzy) in their
glorious heyday come to mind from time to time and
that is no bad thing. It has everything to do with
the combination of pathos, gently quirky humour and
soaring vocal pyrotechnics.

The album flows from A to Z in a seamless
line of inspired and flawless artistry.

It's difficult to pick out highlights when everything is
so good but standout tracks would have to include :
the whistful 'A Window Opens' with its waltz-time melody and
terse laconic narrative; the heart-wrending country-folk
lament 'Ghost Town'; 'I Met Up With The King', with its
hauntingly surreal imagery and curious instrumental decoration
and the blissfully plaintive reflections of 'Wills Of The River'.

The true beauty of this music arises from the simple fact
that everything we hear is exactly in the right place.
Balanced, coherent and consummately performed, First Aid Kit's
debut album is, a truly remarkable and memorable achievement.

Essential.
2 Comments 27 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this CD. I know others have said it isn't so good, it being their first one, but if you listen to it more than once you will see how wonderful it is. Highly recommend a listen.
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Yeah - pretty and damn good just about sums them up I'd say. Some amazing vocal harmonies in deceptively simple songs. For those who like voice, you'd be hard pushed to find a stronger pair anywhere in the current musical universe.
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I saw First Aid Kit at Lounge on the Farm and was mesmerised - I came straight home and bought this. The CD's not quite as fabulous as the live act, but three of the tracks are magical and it's worth owning just for them (In the Morning; Hard Believer; I Met Up With The King). First Aid Kit are two Swedish sisters - 16 and 19 years old, I believe - who sound as though they've been singing together for centuries yet are at the same time wonderfully fresh.
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The single "I Met up with a King" and "Hard Believer" are stand out tracks on this album. That's not to belittle the rest of the album which more than holds it own and is consistently good throughout. The beautiful harmonies and crafting of the melodies is deserved of four stars - the 5th star is only missing as their are a couple of tracks which seem a little off the feel of the rest of the songs.

Its a huge improvement over the debut EP which was still a great start for these girls and it sits perfectly between that and the latest Lions Roar album which is even better. still the quality of the songs here is reflected in their live performance of which many of these songs still feature.
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Format: Audio CD
Excellent album from the two teenage sisters from Sweden. Musically well beyond their youthful years. Superb vocalists it will draw you in and consume your soul.Deserve and hopefully will achieve the recognition their talents warrant. They are even better LIVE.......
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Format: Audio CD
first heard acouple of years ago doing a tribute to fleet foxes on you tube.these girls have developed their own style of singing.refreshingly different to run of the mill pop music around.a cross between folk,country,and pop.both albums are very good.
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