First Aid Kit: Stay Gold [Album Review]

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first-aid-kit-stay-gold First Aid Kit
Stay Gold
Columbia Records [2014]

Fire Note Says: First Aid Kit have matured beyond their young years.

Album Review: Hands down, First Aid Kit’s sisters, Klara and Johanna Söderberg, have one of the most addictive harmonizing vocals in the music scene right now. You may have already heard their impact on Conor Oberst’s latest album Upside Down Mountain while they also have moved into the major label arena with Columbia Records. On their third album, Stay Gold, they once again use the power of two to create a whimsical and mature listening experience that will catch your ear upon first listen.

Their style has not changed much here from their 2012 breakout record, The Lion’s Roar, but now the 21 and 23 year old sound years beyond their age as Stay Gold not only explodes with confidence but finds a timeless space with its traditional Americana sound. The rolling opening track “My Silver Lining” finds the Söderberg sisters coming at you quickly with their layered vocal talent when the line “I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow” provides an interesting youthful perspective of caution as the song keeps stepping forward. It would be easy to compare their voice to a Neko Case but on some of these mid-tempo pieces I hear Stevie Nicks masked behind the violin and pedal steel. Even their song structures have that warm 70’s radio vibe to them which comes off engaging and stylistic.

It is too bad that Stay Gold does not have a huge memorable “Emmylou” like single that was on The Lion’s Roar, but First Aid Kit make up for it with a more consistent strength in their writing and performance overall. Stay Gold is their best record to date and it was helped by returning producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) guiding the way. From the heavy kick up country found on “Heaven Knows” to the touching and heart grabbing final song “A Long Time Ago,” First Aid Kit covers a range of sounds that never feel like a reach for the group. Stay Gold only adds strength to their resume and at such a young age. We can only expect more from First Aid Kit as the Söderberg sisters are rising stars that just seem to be beginning their musical journey here even though Stay Gold feels like it has been around for decades!

Key Tracks: “My Silver Lining ” / “Shattered & Hollow” / “Waitress Song”

Artists With Similar Fire: Neko Case / The Head And The Heart / Laura Cantrell

First Aid Kit Website
First Aid Kit Facebook
Columbia Records

– Reviewed by Christopher Anthony

Christopher Anthony

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