few years ago, two Swedish sisters posted a cover of Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Peasant Song on YouTube and their name, First Aid Kit, spread quickly across the internet.
Now, some four years later, the two sisters, Klara and Johanna Söderberg released their sophomore album, The Lion’s Roar. From that first Fleet Foxes’ cover, you could
tell these girls had the harmonies, voices and talent to be more than just a YouTube sensation. Their first album, The Big Black and The Blue came out in 2010, and was a solid set of folk songs, that showed off that the girls had, in addition to the harmonies, solid songwriting to back it up.
But take one listen to The Lion’s Roar, and their first album sounds simple and primitive. With their second full length (produced by Mike Mogis), the sisters have settled into a beautiful, and amazing folk sound that sounds fuller, bigger and more developed than before. They have crafted a sound that fits perfectly into two distinct spheres of current folk music: into the modern take of American Folk music, and the revival of the folk music of the 70s. Take one listen to Emmylou and hear to Johanna and Klara, both kids of the 90s, encompass the folk songs of the 70s into one tune. “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June, if you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too. No I’m not asking much of you, just sing, little darling sing with me.”
If Emmylou is the warm 70s desert track, the title track, The Lion’s Roar, is the melancholy, beating, dark track that showcases the contrasting side of their sound. “But don’t you come here and say I didn’t warn you. About the way your world can alter.” And on the chorus, the two cry, “I’m a goddamn coward, but then again so are you.”
These girls have definitely flown under the radar in the folk scene in the last few years, but with this one album they’ve jumped up to the upper tier of bands making some great folk music today. I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t see these girls on the Newport Folk Fest lineup this summer. Grab a copy of The Lion’s Roar immediately. And you can catch the sisters at Brighton Music Hall on 4/2. Hope to see you there.