The Lion’s Roar
The Swedish invasion continues, this time in the form of two unassuming sisters with an iron grasp on American roots music. Johanna and Klara Söderberg are First Aid Kit, and their sophomore full-length The Lion’s Roar is a threadbare love letter to folk, country and the ever-inspirational broken heart. Multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis—who’s spent the past decade as a member of Bright Eyes—mans the boards and adds more layers than on their 2010 debut The Big Black and the Blue. But even with additional bells and whistles, it’s the sisters’ voices that are the centerpiece, weaving a dark shroud over traditional guitars, piano, strings and woodwinds. “Dance to Another Tune” is the highlight; it’s also the gloomiest of the batch, while the xylophone on “Blue” offers a flicker of brightness to the song’s cheery refrain, “Now you’re just a shell of your former you É why’d you look so blue?” “Emmylou” buries itself in its own hokiness, even if it is sincere ("I’ll be your Emmylou, and I’ll be your June / If you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny, too"). There’s nothing new here, but these two young women are charming enough to keep The Lion’s Roar from going out with a whimper.