First Aid Kit | 10.06.12

firstaidkit 100If you don’t want to go listen to a band that brought Patti-freaking-Smith to tears, then I just don’t know what to do with you.


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Most everyone in the know about First Aid Kit probably got their introduction to the sisters from Sweden through YouTube videos of their 2009 cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” I, too, found them through YouTube, but it was through a La Blogothèque’s Take Away Show video of them performing “In the Morning” and “Sailor Song,” that I highly recommend you hunt down. The raw power, the blissful harmonies, and their palpable reverence for the folk tradition all won me over in the span of 7 minutes and 20 seconds.

Since that time, their voices and original compositions have only grown richer and more nuanced. They wear their influences—such as Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom, and Gram Parsons—on their sleeves, and do them proud. When Patti Smith received the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, First Aid Kit covered “Dancing Barefoot” in tribute and brought the legend to tears. Tears! I’m sorry, but if you don’t want to go listen to a band that brought Patti-freaking-Smith to tears, then I just don’t know what to do with you!

These young ladies have time and again been called old souls and much has been made, even by me, of how “wise beyond their years” their lyrics are. Upon further reflection, I don’t know that this is so odd or rare of today’s musicians in their 20s and near-20s. This generation has grown up in a way that we elders of Gen X and beyond can barely comprehend. The vastness of what they’ve been exposed to—actually bombarded with—through media, through images, through both written and spoken word, and through the rabbit hole of the internet is mind boggling. It exceeds their elders’ exposure a thousand fold. That the youth of today might have a firmer grasp on the inner mechanisms of their own hearts, even if it’s mostly through the experiences of others, more so than we had when we were their age really isn’t so curious after all. I think sometimes we are taken aback by such complexity coming from baby faces, but really, that says more about our lack of expectation than it confirms some unique and magical quality within these young adults. That said, there is magic to be found in these gals, and it lives in their throats.

I am looking forward to hearing them without the overuse of echoing and reverb that was borderline annoying on their second album. With nuanced voices like these, capable of creating transcendent harmonies, why on earth would you do that much fiddling? I would even be over the moon if they would unplug, perhaps even sing a cappella for at least a portion of their set. I will be launched further into the galaxy if they include my favorite of theirs, “Waltz for Richard”—and what if they do “Waltz for Richard” unplugged or a cappella? I may very well be sucked into a black hole of pure bliss. | Janet Rhoads

First Aid Kit plays Firebird in St. Louis on Saturday, October 6, in support of their latest album The Lion’s Roar; opening the show are Dylan LeBlanc and Indian Blanket. Doors 8 p.m., show 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $12, and all ages are welcome.

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