Bittersweet is the word the Soderberg sisters prefer. "We like bittersweet songs, songs that affect you differently depending on how you interpret them," says Klara, the younger of the Swedish siblings that make up First Aid Kit. "Making the melodies and lyrics head in different directions is very deliberate," adds big sister Johanna. "A song like ‘Emmylou’ sounds cheerful, but the lyrics are the saddest thing you ever heard."
First Aid Kit’s first US-recorded album, "The Lion’s Roar," juxtaposes sadness and beauty in the best traditions of folk and country music. They even cite the Louvin Brothers’ cheerfully brutal version of the old murder ballad "Knoxville Girl" as the perfect example of the sweet and sour they adore. And this new carefully constructed collection deftly succeeds in setting references to their hometown of Stockholm and long, dark Scandinavian winters against a backdrop of country-rock swing.
Where 2010’s debut "The Big Black and the Blue" was starkly intimate, "The Lion’s Roar," recorded in Omaha by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, millions more), is a full band record. The girls’ father Benkt takes the bass, Mattias Bergqvist drums, while Mogis and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, and a cast of Omaha-based musicians round out the sound. From the dynamic title track onwards, the album is a rich and stirring affair that expands upon the keen and sophisticated country-tinged pop of their debut.