In life, no event better represents the constancy of change than the revolving seasons; as one ends, another is born anew, and the world reminds us all that—regardless of our place in it—life marches steadily forward. The summer to winter period particularly harshens everyone’s buzz: not only because the weather goes from pristine and sunny to dank and chilly. For many it symbolizes a stomp back towards reality. To those no longer returning to school, or who took no amazing vacations for which a flicker of nostalgia still burns, the impending fall may not look promising. Sometimes, something is required to remind that life ebbs as much as it flows. Sometimes we all need a little transitory pick me up, a bit of musical reprieve: First Aid Kit serve to fill that void, offering their voices of optimistic in a world of uncertainty.
Who are they?
First Aid Kit is the project of Swedish siblings Johanna and Klara Söderberg. Though they helm from across their ocean, their sound is distinctly Americana-inspired; the sisters write solid and beautiful songs with genuine American folk tradition. From the pseudo-southern drawl in the vocal harmonies to the rich, bluegrass-slathered instrumental tone, each cut sounds ripped from the heart of Dixieland.
While their previous material (The Big Black and the Blue and The Lion’s Roar) are recorded in the singer-songwriter fashion, with minimalistic, acoustic performances in mind, their latest endeavor, Stay Gold, fleshes out their sound with snappy drums, sneaky electric guitar and full-bodied strings, giving a lusher, more atmospheric, orchestral ambience to the whole affair.
For a truly defining track that summarizes the group in a neat little package, look no further than “Waitress Song,” that tells the story of a young waitress in the heart of the Midwest attempting to figure her life out, knowing she will eventually make it. That sentiment, one of uncertainty laced with optimism, is echoes across the album from start to close.
In the opening track, "My Silver Lining," the sisters sing, “I don't know if I'm scared of dying but I'm scared of living too fast, too slow/ Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I've got to go/ There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on/ And you've just gotta keep on keeping on.” It’s a bittersweet series of lines that optimistically states how most of us feel at a major crossroad of change in life; no one knows what will happen, just that something will. We have to hold on to the idea that time will always move forward, so we might as well hold tight, enjoy the ride, and march along.