“Ruins” First Aid Kit
This is First Aid Kit’s fourth full album and first since "Stay Gold" in 2014. Sisters Johanna (27) and Klara (25) are from Stockholm, Sweden, but play folk, Americana, and even country like they were born and raised in the U.S. "Ruins" is a somewhat darker album than First Aid Kit’s past releases, the product of Klara’s 2015 breakup with her fiancé when she returned home to the UK after years of touring. The lyrics are full of heartbreak, while the highly produced arrangements often contrast with the sadness of the words. Country DJs: Note that there are a number of tracks on this album that will fit perfectly on your show.
Recommended: 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 9, 6. FCC: Track 10
1. (5:23) Rebel Heart — Cinematic album opener. Syncopated tom-tom drum rhythm. Jangly guitar. Slightly haunting. ***
2. (4:00) It’s a Shame — Bouncy rock romp musically — contrasting with the sad lyrics about being on your own after being with someone for a long time. Strummed acoustic guitar. Piano. Organ. ****
3. (4:15) Fireworks — Old-timey dream-pop. Lilting vocals. Rich ringing guitar. Chimey synths. Big backing vocals. ****
4. (3:47) Postcard — Honky-tonk country. Easygoing and melodic. Brushes on drums. Inspired by a Lucinda Williams’ performance. ***
5. (3:13) To Live a Life — Quiet and peaceful. Fingerpicked guitar and crying pedal steel. Piano. Country-folk or alt. country. Builds throughout. ***
6. (3:56) My Wild Sweet Love — Sweet and soaring indie folk-rock — with swelling strings, rich harmonies and the thump of tom-toms under. **
7. (3:10) Distant Star — Starts out like a traditional country song. Strumming guitar. Harmonized lead vocals. Lead break gets almost psychedelic in places.
8. (3:32) Ruins — Drums almost in a train-like rhythm. Alt country, with the sweetness of the melody contrasting with the focus of the lyrics on the ruins of a relationship.
9. (3:24) Hem of her Dress — Alt-country. Crystal-like lead vocals over strummed guitar. Builds to a raucous finish with a chorus that includes the sisters’ mother, younger brother and Laura Veirs. ***
10. (5:01) Nothing Has to Be True — Written and recorded in Nashville on a custom-made Gibson guitar from the 1920s (a gift to the sisters from Jack White). First song that the duo has ever recorded with no harmonies. Chilling and sad. Electronic distortion at the end. FCC: “shit”
11. (5:01) Nothing Has to Be True — FCC Clean version of Track 10.