I avoided listening to this group for a long time because, frankly, I am almost never in the mood for a Swedish folk duo. I was expecting their newest album, “The Lion’s Roar,” to be 45 minutes of painfully reflective music by two sisters whose breathy, brittle vocals are practically inaudible without a pair of decent headphones. Then, one day, I found myself to be in a particularly generous state of mind and coincidentally had no new music for my drive to work. I decided to give it a try.
I’m an idiot – this album is actually pretty good. Johanna and Klara Söderberg have created 10 truly enjoyable tracks, full of rich harmonies, no-nonsense lyrics and a not-insignificant country twang. Songs like “Emmylou,” “This Old Routine” and “I Found the Way” lack any trace of the delicate warbling I was dreading; they have a strength and a substance that I wasn’t expecting. When they’re singing, the Söderberg sisters (one’s only 19!) sound wise beyond their years.
One of the standout songs is the title track. The solemn, acoustic-guitar opening sounds a little like the beginning of “Working Class Hero,” and the singing is so powerful and catchy that you’ll want to listen to it (and sing along) all day. The video’s also intriguing – what’s in the suitcase?
If you’re a fan of Joanna Newsom or Fleet Foxes, then you’ll probably like “The Lion’s Roar,” too. First Aid Kit also has a 2010 album, “The Big Black & The Blue,” that’s worth checking out.