Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg have been taking the folk music world by storm for about eight years now. Performing as the group First Aid Kit, they have received two “Album of the Year” awards from the Swedish Grammys, one in 2012 for The Lion’s Roar and the other in 2014 for Stay Gold. There’s no question that the Söderberg sister are powerhouse ladies. Their aesthetic can be described as harmonic, otherworldly, and just beautiful. The title track of Stay Gold very accurately depicts said aesthetic.
“Stay Gold” can simply be described as ethereal and lovely. Within the first few seconds, listeners can tell this music is something different from everything else out there, something that makes you believe everything is going to be okay in the music world. An airy harmony leads listeners through a musical dreamland, transferring them to Klara’s captivating vocals, which serenade us with lyrics reminiscent of Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Debatably the most exquisite part of “Stay Gold” is the bridge, “All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge of memories where I can get back”, where Johanna gets to shine. Her voice, slightly deeper and huskier than sister Klara’s, suits the line impeccably well, while Klara’s harmony flits and floats around it perfectly. The way First Aid Kit manages to make subtle harmonies the central part of a song contributes to their exceptionality as a group. While there may be bigger and bolder harmonies out there, no two people can imitate First Aid Kit’s sound. Overall, their vocals can’t be beat.
Neither can the music itself. Utilizing Klara’s guitar picking and Johanna’s keyboard skills, the music, as well as the production, in “Stay Gold” is enchanting. They may be from Sweden but they understand and have mastered the classic Americana sound. In addition to guitar and keyboard, strings, drums, harps, and a pedal steel guitar. You’ll be sure to see them playing their own instruments live, as they find it empowering when women do so.
Overall, “Stay Gold” is a musical masterpiece. First Aid Kit’s old, folky feel has been capturing attention all over the world and for good reasons. Their existentialist themes are part of the reason First Aid Kit is a force to be reckoned with, the other is that their music isn’t the type that only sounds great on the album – when they play live, they reproduce their sound incredibly well. Their ability to create real music that sounds the same in any venue is a huge reason why First Aid Kit will enjoy success for years and years to come.