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Album Review: First Aid Kit – Ruins

2 min read
Photo: Lauren Dukoff/Columbia Records Publicity

First Aid Kit are back: no more waiting to listen to those dreamy harmonies, gentle acoustic guitar melodies and country vibes we fell in love with. The Swedish duo, composed by Johanna and Klara Söderberg, has just released their fourth album Ruins.

Rebel Heart, the opener, is a journey. It starts with an unstable melody transmitting discomfort, which perfectly match the emotional vocals and the meaning of the lyrics; and it then changes during the instrumental break. Over the second part of the song, the music and the vocals are colder, stronger, and more organised, representing the realisation that “Nothing matters, all is futile”.

In the first few lines, It’s a Shame describes all the feelings after a breakup, sorrow, melancholy, emptiness and the recognition that it’s a pointless shame feeling that way (Lately I’ve been thinking about the past / How there is no holding back / No point in wasting sorrow / On things that won’t be here tomorrow). The melody is warm and encouraging thanks to the lively acoustic guitar and organ tune.

Fireworks sounds gentle, dreamy, as a romantic ballad which can be used as a soundtrack of a tearjerker movie scene. But, at the same time, this song is fresh given the crispy particulars delivered through electric guitar and keyboard vibes.

Overall, the details are what makes this album great. From the use of distinctive instruments as keyboard, electric guitar, horn or violin in songs as Fireworks, Rebel Heart or Hem of Her Dress; to the elegant, accurate, harmonising and emotional vocals.

Ruins, while representing what is left after a breakup, celebrates the beauty of a past relationship and the late optimistic realisation to move on. In this album, the Swedish sisters’ voices naturally complement each other and elegantly harmonise together, resulting in a record full of emotions and personality.