First Aid Kit - The Big Black and the Blue (5 stars)

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First Aid Kit - The Big Black and the Blue

Wichita

Some people are just born talented, it would seem, and so it is with the extraordinarily gifted First Aid Kit, the band consisting of teenage Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg. Aged 16 and 19 respectively, the sisters have only been playing together for a couple of years, having been originally inspired by Connor Oberst’s Bright Eyes, but despite that lack of experience, the Soderberg’s voices have to be heard to be believed, two wondrous, earthy, mournful and uplifting sounds that intertwine with mesmerising fashion throughout this remarkable debut album.

Influenced by nu-folk outfits such as Fleet Foxes and Midlake, First Aid Kit sound somehow very modern and timeless at the same time, using stripped down acoustic guitar or organ arrangements for the most part here to place their unique vocals to the fore. This is none more obvious than on opener ‘In the Morning’, a stunning and haunting partially a cappella lament which paves the way for a display of mature songwriting filled with the sorrows of the world, dripping with a heartbreak and disillusion that the Soderberg’s voices lend a brutal kind of authenticity.

From the exaltation of atheism in recent single ‘Hard Believer’ to the sublime country-gospel rattle of ‘Josefin’, it’s astonishing stuff, and despite the appropriation of old American folk and country sounds by a couple of Swedish girls with a combined age less than Will Oldham, it’s somehow utterly convincing. Talent such as this can’t be taught, it’s a gift, one which First Aid Kit are putting to awe-inspiring use.

First Aid Kit

Ethereal nu-folky music from Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg.

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