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The Lion's Roar
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'The Lion's Roar' is a full band record, the girls' father Benkt takes the bass, Mattias Bergqvist drums, while Mogis and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, and a cast of Omaha-based musicians round out the sound. Album closer 'King Of The World' features The Felice Brothers, just passing through town during the session, and local hero Conor Oberst, who sings the last verse. LP is pressed onto 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and includes a download code for the entire album. For fans of Bright Eyes, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes.
Those already familiar with First Aid Kit may be shocked by the portent in the title of their second album, The Lion's Roar. For a duo so built on understatement, it's a statement of its own volition – words which suggest something bigger, bolder, and stronger.
From the reflections of Blue, the influence of the Swedish sisters' dream producer Mike Mogis (best known for his work with Bright Eyes) becomes apparent. Still pared down but clearer, the sweet mimicking between bass and xylophone feel more ominous than decorative.
Johanna and Klara Sodenberg's close harmonies charm unaffectedly, pitched in the mix like the faint voices of songbirds echoing through a woodland scene. And, lyrically, there's a mix of gloom and lilt in the perfect order and proportion; in spite of Conor Oberst's involvement, there's no stagnation, no lack of positivity and certainly no halting moments of impenetrable self-reflection.
The voices gallingly cry "I go from nowhere to nowhere / Searching for the key" on Dance to Another Tune, the most mournful of The Lion's Roar's 10 songs. Written like a series of proverbs, it has the unique gift of being accessible and extravagant. First Aid Kit are now a band rather than a duo, and the gorgeous harmonies benefit from a more serious direction and sometimes sweeping orchestration.
First Aid Kit's journey into the hillbilly backwoods is smoother than their rickety debut album, 2010’s The Big Black & Blue, and comes with the benefit of greater knowledge. This set swells into a full assembly of Americana, peaking at name-dropper Emmylou – the delightful warmth of this song can be attributed to the sisters' affections for the genre, even down to the accents. The lyrics "I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June / And you'll be my Gram and your Johnny too," while simple, act as a gently vigorous call-to-arms.
The echo of pedal steel and mariachi horns on King of the World is a far cry from First Aid Kit's cover of Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, which first appeared on YouTube in 2008. The full band which appears on The Lion's Roar enjoys the rare achievement of being saccharine-free, and serves to highlight the sisters' brilliant captured-on-tape chemistry.
As consolation anthems go, it's difficult to imagine anyone topping this collection in 2012. Sat neatly between Laura Marling's trauma, Alessi's Ark's florid scenes and Joni Mitchell's spot-lit thoughts, First Aid Kit's second album lines them up as the band most likely to cross over into the big time.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you like Americana crossed with a little 60s American folk (think mamas and papas) and want to hear something miles better that the garbage they call chart music and want to regain your faith after the years of muck churned out by the likes of the X factor and such then buy this album (and their others) you will thank me for it...Honest!
Best thing to come out of Sweden since er...ABBA!
On their latest album "The Lions Roar" there is a clear and determined attempt made to rock things up and give a bigger sound. The bittersweet harmonies remain firmly in place but better songs with fuller production are everywhere plus growing signs that the sisters can write a fine set of lyrics. They recently reduced Patti Smith to a tearful wreck with a stirring version of her "Dancing Barefoot", yet it is to that other female giant of music that this albums finest song is dedicated. "Emmylou" name checks the romance of Harris with her true love Gram Parsons, plus June Carter with the Man in Black. It could easily be clichéd and trite but instead it is a splendid country concoction and possibly the finest thing the sisters have done. There must be composers in Nashville thinking that a monster has been created in Stockholm that can out countrify them in every respect.Read more ›
There is not one bad track or filler on this album the quality remains constantly high throughout each track.
Its easy to forget these girls are Swedish such is the rich Americana folk sound and vocals.
I will stick my head on the line and say this is the 2012 album of the year and a must for anyone with an ounce of musical nouse.
Americana? Pop? Folk? Country? Who cares. Lovely harmony from Swedish sisters, with good instrumental backing - restrained and never overwhelming the vocals.
One piece of advice. For some reason there appear to be 10 and 11 track versions - make sure you get the 11 track one. The so-called 'bonus' track (Wolf) is one of their finest.
`In the hearts of men' slows down the pace but is hauntingly languid and just washes over you like sunshine on a winter's day (God I am getting real gushy here sorry). Track 4 `Blue' gets the tempo up a beat with a lovely song of missed chances.
`This old routine' is probably my favourite, although it is hard to choose from so many gems, with a rich lilting vocal on a tale of love worn through with beautiful mandolin and an underscored percussion that Tindersticks would be proud of (probably!) Track 8 `I found a way' is another tale of dark and flawed love that the beautiful harmonies hide like a gossamer veil.
Penultimate track `New Years Eve' is an effortless blending of simple arrangements with a crystal clear vocal that flows like a tributary to a great river. This leads us into `King of the World' which is a lovely slice of country life and we have guest instruments of violin, trumpet and accordion, almost a ho-down, and a great way to finish a truly beautiful album. I can't wait to see them later this year and for album number three, this though is an absolute triumph.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These girls are superb. You'd never guess they were Swedish! They remind me a bit of The Pierces with their lovely harmonies. A great duo.Published 1 day ago by Ms. J. Goodman
Earlier album to the excellent sequel. Nearly as good as well. I love the music these girls make.Published 1 month ago by Adder
The swedes keep on producing these excellent bands who master the poetry and style of the English language. Also a pleasure to look at (Oops, sorry)Published 2 months ago by Davesks
This is a beautiful album, I highly recommend it. I also recommend their latest album; Stay gold.
Five stars *****