It’s so awesome to see Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg finally settling in to their sound and being confident in their innate talent. With First Aid Kit’s third release, Stay Gold, the Söderberg sisters sound stronger, more polished, and purposeful. Perhaps they traded in some of their country-twang for a brilliant 13-piece orchestra, and maybe their polished sound comes from their brand new major label (Colombia). But who knows and who cares, because these girls are definitely still going strong with their beautifully dark Americana vibes.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a FAK album without harmonies, and my god, this album has got some of their best yet. The opening track, My Silver Lining, is without a doubt the album’s shining gem. It’s just way too easy to get lost in the track’s lavish production, which weaves layers and layers of strings, guitar, and percussion under the sisters’ haunting vocals. Though I wish the the rest of the album followed in that experimental direction, the other tracks still have some incredible production by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis. The album delves deep into darker themes but it doesn’t ever feel somber or depressing to listen to. Master Pretender is upbeat and clap-happy, even with lines like, “I always thought that you’d be here/But shit gets fucked up and people just disappear.” Shattered & Hollow has the sisters crooning softly, “I am in love and I am lost/But I’d rather be/Broken than empty,” and there’s a shit ton of determination in the way they sing it. Sadness never felt this badass.