Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg have taken what, in the era of TV talent shows and Internet stars (they were once YouTube sensations themselves), has become a rare path to major-label success. Their hard work and growth within a trusting and nurturing indie label climate have helped develop and mature their sound from the enchanting folk of their debut to the polished Americana that dominates Stay Gold. Making the jump from Wichita to Columbia Records for their third full-length has given the duo the scope to dream bigger, and that's exactly what they've managed here with an assured and comprehensive collection of songs.
Described as the Swedish answer to the Pierces, sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg, aka First Aid Kit, blend autumnal folk and wistful '60s Americana, and have gathered a pretty illustrious following since their cover version of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" became a YouTube hit back in 2008. As well as releasing their debut single through the Knife's Rabid Records label, they have since made Patti Smith cry with their rendition of her 1979 single "Dancing Barefoot," been courted by Jack White, who invited them to appear on two tracks for his Third Man Records' Blue Series, and now find themselves under the guidance of producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) for their second album, The Lion's Roar. It's an impressive turn of events for a duo that hails from a small suburb of Stockholm, but the follow-up to 2010's The Big Black & the Blue reveals why First Aid Kit have attracted so much attention. Juxtaposing the girls' glorious ethereal harmonies with a genuine sense of melancholy, the bittersweet alt-country of "Emmylou," a tribute to the musical partnerships of Ms. Harris and Gram Parsons, and Johnny Cash and June Carter; the twinkling Mama Cass-esque "Blue"; and the lush acoustics of "I Found a Way" are all beautifully heartbreaking.