First Aid Kit
The Lion's Roar


3.5
great

Review

by rmill3r USER (26 Reviews)
January 26th, 2012 | 2 replies | 1,455 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Lion's Rawr

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

About four years ago, two Swedish sisters popped up on YouTube performing a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” The description in their video says, “We saw them [Fleet Foxes] live this weekend in Sweden and it was absolutely amazing. If you get a chance to see them live don't hesitate for a second!” and after watching their heartbreaking performance, you can only imagine how enamored they were with this mystical, Western idea of folk music. Now--an EP and a debut album later--Johanna and Klara Söderberg are in their late teens/early twenties, releasing their sophomore album alongside producer Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes.

It has only been a couple years since their first album, The Big Black & The Blue, but the Söderberg sisters already sound matured and certain of where they have sonically landed. On the self-titled opener, Klara’s voice drawls out in front of bobbing acoustic guitars right before the power of Johanna’s voice joins in for a harmony of: “And I’m a goddamned coward / But then again, so are you.” The push behind their voices together is shivering and classic. Throughout the album, the sisters channel the best of the Americana that they both reference and endearingly imitate. Their voices shine out like the best of a female version of Fleet Foxes on songs such as “To A Poet,” one of the more melancholy affairs.

The one aspect of The Lion’s Roar that both saves and hinders the sisters is Mogis’ production value. While done very well, the reverb-y drums and assorted instrumentation (oboe, organ, trumpet, flutes and more) tend to drown out what makes this album so memorable: the sisters’ voices. When they sing, “Don’t make no mistakes / And don’t regret / Don’t waste the time that is left / And then do it all with a goddamn smile” on “In the Hearts of Men,” there’s such command you’d never expect to come from twenty-something-year-olds. But then it’s quickly followed by beautiful “la la la’s,” sadly masked with echoing effects and downcast pianos. It’s like a cheap throwback to old Bright Eyes, thanks to Mogis. And then--speak of the devil--Conor Oberst shows up for a cameo on the closer “The King of the World,” a song of fanciful feelings, which Oberst can barely squeeze himself into. It’s actually kind of funny to hear the Söderbergs outplay Oberst--someone older than them who they probably look up to. (It’s not a bash on Oberst as it is an accolade for the sisters.)

The Lion’s Roar oozes with feel-good and satisfying tones. Some of the music tends to just fade out like white noise for its pure pleasantry. But the panache and power of the vocals is what truly lifts the album up from the dreariness of hopeless folk knockoffs. The sisters have plenty more growing to do, but this album shows that there’s no reason to worry for them. The allusions on “Emmylou”--Emmylou Harris, June Carter, Gram Parsons, and Johnny Cash--show that Klara and Johanna aspire to grand heights. As they call out, “No, I’m not asking much of you / Just sing little darlin’, sing with me,” they’re saying it to themselves just as much as they’re singing it to you.



Recent reviews by this author
Krallice Years Past MatterJapandroids Celebration Rock
mewithoutYou Ten StoriesHigh on Fire De Vermis Mysteriis
Bear in Heaven I Love You, It's CoolTanlines Mixed Emotions
user ratings (121)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Ali CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
The Swedish sisters take a significant step up the folk pecking order....

related reviews

Stay Gold

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2012



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, though I like this a lot more than you. It would've been in my top 10 had it been released last year.

rmill3r
January 26th 2012



167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you! And, yeah definitely looks like you do, haha

I really enjoy it (I was jammin out to it at work today), but sometimes it just falls flat for me :/

Like I said in the review, their voices are just too good to pass up...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy