First Aid Kit were my find of 2014. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard them sooner. Their previous
album to this, ‘Stay Gold’ is a timeless classic that I feel should be considered along with ‘Rumours’
and the like. It is flawless. The brand new record ‘Ruins’ is again an exercise in timeless beauty. The music is evocative and simplistic but wrapped in a paradox of vocal virtuosity.
‘Rebel Heart’ ushers in a darker feeling than I was expecting. It's brooding intensity is transparent of the lyrical content. Klara's voice on this is heartbreaking in parts, you can hear the
strain in the
vocal and the need to deliver the song in this fashion. The following track ‘It's a Shame’ soon highlights the obvious strength of First Aid Kit. The stunning blend of the sisters voices. So considered and locked in. It's almost robotic. Just complete synergy between them as singers.
The waltz feel of ‘Fireworks’ is reimagined visually in the music video for the obvious single choice
on the album. A dainty song that flutters to a close before you realise. ‘Postcard’ is a picturesque view to another place. A delicate shuffle with brushes really highlights just how tasteful the playing is on this record. The arrangements are never over done. Just effortlessly simple to let the vocals sing, as they should do.
One of my favourite aspects of the First Aid Kit sound is when Klara is solitary with a guitar. ‘To Live a Life’
is an insular piece that grows to a gratifying climax towards the end. ‘My Wild Sweet Love’ invigorated by
tasteful string arrangements throughout which informs the listener of the almost filmic atmosphere that
seems to develop in the latter stages of the record. A stunning held note in harmony opens up ‘Distant Star’
and the song drives and drives without every dropping the vocal harmonies. The absolute synchronicity is
beyond admirable. The harmonies swap and change, from thirds, to octaves, to unison. It's complex but you could easily miss the intricacies as a casual listener.
My favourite track is the title namesake ‘Ruins’. The dancing melody of this song is as vibrant as it
is sombre. I don't know how they achieve a combination like that but they do it with great success. I
feel they could smile or snarl as they sing this song and either would convey a new connotation of
the melodies within. ‘Hem of Her Dress’ brings me back to that isolated guitar and vocal sound I yearn
for in the intro. Then when Johanna joins in harmony, the song builds piece by piece, “SO LOUD and so
discrete”, is my favourite line of the album. To hear a delicate folky song feature a belted note Ronnie
James Dio would be proud of, is just wonderful. The finale of the song descends into an parade of sing
along melody complete with a subtle brass accompaniment.
The album closer is full of fragility. I feel afraid to turn my volume up. ‘Nothing Has to be True’ is
so immensely heartfelt in delivery and prowess. The ambient ending is a welcome aspect to this
record, it triumphantly soars to the end time of the record and ends completely on a high. First Aid
Kit have yet again produced a sublime piece here. I don't think it's as commercially bombastic as
‘Stay Gold’ was but in no way does that bare any relevance to the quality. A fabulous record. BUY IT.
It's a Shame
To Live a Life
My Wild Sweet Love
Hem of Her Dress
Nothing Has to be True