First Aid Kit – Atelier awash with harmonies
By Patrick Cameron
Wednesday night saw Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg bring their country-folk charm to den Atelier.
It has been seven years since First Aid Kit caught the attention of an international audience with their cover of ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ by Fleet Foxes.
Since then they have released three albums to critical acclaim and toured the world with one important exception; Luxembourg.
The Atelier crowd would have to wait another half hour before they saw the sisters perform in Luxembourg, as Irish folksters ‘All The Luck In The World’ had the duty of warming up the crowd.
The Irish trio comprising of electric and acoustic guitar as well as keyboard, were a fitting support with their well-worked harmonies and nice interplay between the electric and acoustic guitars.
You could also hear real influences from the likes of ‘Bright Eyes’ and their fellow countryman Conor O’Brien of ‘The Villagers’ throughout their set.
Then came the time for Fist Aid Kit to grace a Luxembourgish stage for the fist time. The sisters, positioned at either side of the stage with pedal steel guitar and drums set just behind them wasted no time in easing in the crowd as they kicked off the night with the title track off their breakthrough album ‘The Lion’s Roar’.
It’s a thunderous start with rousing drums enveloping their vocals and pedal steel cutting through just when required. I fully expected this song to be at the encore but it’s a bold move to play one of your very best first.
This was followed by the title track off the new album ‘Stay Gold’ as the sisters float effortlessly between vocal duties, introducing some of the incredible harmonies that you feel only siblings can really create, a kind of natural chemistry they’ve had since birth that makes it so wonderful.
They even went back to their debut EP to pluck out ‘Our Own Pretty Ways’, the first song they wrote when they were just sixteen. It says something for their natural talent that even a song written at such a young age still holds up well next to their later material.
Afterwards the Söderbergs were left on the stage by themselves, for ‘Ghost Town’ off their debut album. No microphones or drums this time, just the two sisters singing out to the crowd with a guitar from the edge of the stage.
This is really where the harmonies came into their own; nothing but crystal clear vocals and a acoustic guitar flowed over us all like a warm hug of Swedish folk.
There was also a place for a cover of the Dolly Parton’s classic ‘Jolene’, which was fitting as the new album takes them into more country music territory.
But it’s the beautiful ballad of ‘Emmylou’ that they close the set with. Once again the sisters come to the centre of the stage to sing and the crowd give them a helping hand in this delicate sing-along.
With incredible harmonies and catchy melodies, First Aid Kit certainly look to be on the road to joining an illustrious group of Swedish acts that define their genre. Still just in their early twenties I fully expect plenty more great albums coming from these Stockholm sisters.
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