Thursday, July 24, 2014
FIRST AID KIT - THE LIONS ROAR
It seems like the very last thing I did over a year ago was draft this review. By 'draft' I mean upload an album shot, which if you are as compu-savvy as me, is no mean feat. Why did I do that? What was it about this album that had me so excited in April 2013? Is it that I have a massive 'thing' for the two right side of kooky, fine fly-away hair throwbacks that make up First Aid Kit? There is that. I have a friend who very unkindly said they looked like they had Downs, fuck that guy, he's an idiot. Anyway, that's not the reason. I'm here for the music, always have been (apart from in any instance involving the un-bridalled gorm of a young Roger Waters - See 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' in which case the sleeve alone is enough to permanently sour the listener to any or all of Pink Floyd's output).
Anyway. First Aid Kit. 'The Lion's Roar' is a great album. It's chock full of musical and actual references to the golden age of 70s (or at the time 'New' Country) and sits nicely next to Lee Hazlewood's Swedish era output in my racks... They aren't racks, I'm not a fucking DeeJay, they are value friendly Expedit shelving from Ikea. I hate myself for owning Ikea product but in this instance they were free and do do the job... Wait, both Ikea and First Aid Kit are Swedish. If I was better at this I could turn that into a very clever review referencing cheap plywood flat-pack furniture, horse meat balls and useless sales staff but I could only ever see that kind of likening as unkind and for all that Radio 2 were all over this, meaning that it's about as alternative as my dad's choice in slacks. 'The Lion's Roar' is a great album.
Why? Dream-like vocal harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, wistful and lush arrangements that never get to the point of being over-baring. It's 'country folk' leanings are very easy to listen to and it works excellently as a whole. The sleeve sets the scene perfectly with it's sun burnt upper corner and washed out summer meadow photo call. The title track is an obvious stand-out as is 'Emmylou' but for me the one single pinnacle is very specifically the final phrase in the chorus of 'In The Hearts of Men' in which one of the two sister? sings the line 'and you do it all with a goddamn smile' turning the final word of that line into a sigh or whisper. Tiniest thing, most completely unforgettable nuance.
Winner. On a scale of 1 to 10 this album would not be a monkey pissing in it's own mouth.