Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s passion for American folk and rock is evident on their second album under the name First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar.
The album rises on the strength of its fantastic singles, “The Lion’s Roar” and “Emmylou,” which happen to be the first two tracks on the album.
The title track is both bold and haunting thanks to the mix of driving percussion and mysterious flute that feels more than a little Zepplin-esque. The chorus is anthemic and shows that these women know that a well-placed “Goddamn” never hurts.
It’s on “Emmylou” that First Aid Kit’s appreciation for the past becomes crystal clear. “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June if you’ll be my Graham and my Johnny, too,” the duo sing with a conviction that suggests the lyrics aren’t lip service. This Americana romance is something they wish for earnestly and they’ll connect with a lot of listeners through it.
The rest of The Lion's Roar balances nicely between more sombre and more spirited material, but it doesn’t capture the ear quite like the opening tracks. “King of the World” is a nice closer with Conor Oberst and The Felice Brothers pitching in to make the end of the record a bit more rambunctious.
First Aid Kit’s reverence for past, sense of melody and solid execution make The Lion’s Roar as enjoyable to listen to as some of today’s most popular folk artists and this should be a breakout year for the Swedish sisters.
The Lion’s Roar will be out on January 24 on Wichita Recordings.