Flashback to Latitude festival in the summer of 2012. Me and my mate are exhausted from the heat and all of that walking and dancing. The girls tented up next to us are an energetic bunch, the stench of weed and the instrumentals of glass bottles and tipsy laughter are in abundance for three days and three nights. It’s nice though, that sound of youthful living. What’s nicer is the album they play on repeat. It’s an album I’d not heard but the lulling, haunting, nymph like vocals are enchanting. I find out on the second evening that it’s a band called First Aid Kit, a band that had played earlier that day, whom I had completely skipped out on. Regrets.
Since then I’ve been continuously wooed by the mystical, folky tones of the Swedish sisters and this most recent release is stunning. STUNNING. Like, I want to live inside their voices. Is that really weird? It is, isn’t it. But how else can I explain it? Their sisterly bond is evident even in the harmonising pairing of their voices and the lyrics are so rich. There’s something very timeless in the way they reminisce in elements of the seventies but still manage to put a spin on the folk and grooviness to make their stuff relevant modern pop.
The lyrics are the “simple” sort, love and heartache. But every track is so individual, with little snaps of different genre’s, twisting harmonies and just raw talent to be real with you. Rebel Heart is haunting from the intro and that last verse is so tragic: ‘Nothing matters, all is futile’. I stopped the album half way through the track, it was midday, the sun was out and I was all optimism and light. This song needed twilight storms and an open heart to fully be felt.
Fireworks was the first track to really get my attention, it’s all building layers with the catchy lyrics and set up of a ballad. It’s got that ‘single’ kind of vibe, instantly likeable and full of the good stuff. But my favourite track is either Distant Star or Hem of her dress.
Distant Star holds some of my favourite lines, that second half of the first verse:
‘Your mother she’s an actress
And we’re all putting on a play
There’s some conviction, pretend it’s all real
Try to ignore how sad it all feels
Yes try not to break her heart if you can”
It’s maybe one of the bleakest on the album, so much longing and dwelling in the words. There’s something in the tone of their voices that just suits those emotions.
Hem of Her Dress, is partly up there simply for the unexpected ending. Like Distant Star it carries a bitterness through the lyrics ‘You say you’ve found yourself, Oh, in someone else, And she makes you forget about the rain’ but there isn’t a chorus or a traditional lyrical composition. I like that it kind of sounds like a massive outpouring, very unfiltered. Almost like they’ve gotten drunk, loosened their tongues, gotten all the shit out in the open and then distracted themselves with a drunken sing along at the end. It’s brilliant.
Post writing this, I came across a track by track analysis on a site called Consequence of Sound and thought I’d include it for all my fellow lyrical babes out there. It’s the girls themselves giving a run down, so super insightful. As for this post? Just accept it at this point. My blogs become a bit of a mess of stuff and I’ve resigned myself to just posting what matters to me in the moment. I thought this album was pretty and I wanted to talk about it.
Light and love, N x