Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit return with their fourth album, Ruins. Previous albums have been increasingly more confident but their first album, with tracks like "Ghost Town", will be hard to beat for many early adopters of their music. They still have it though, so expect more assured songwriting, beautiful harmonies and foot-tapping sing-a-longs.
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7/10 Tinkleberry Customer review, 25th January 2018
I may have bought this album out of a certain duty to First Aid Kit, or just for the sake of nerdy completeness in my own record collection, or perhaps just some automated thing in me that makes me click ‘add to basket’ when I see a new album by and artist I already own records by and have liked in the past. “The Big Black and The Blue” was great, as was their second LP “The Lion’s Roar”. Album number three, “Stay Gold” however, seemed too safe and nice and seemed to lack any real stand out moments, “Silver Lining” perhaps being the obvious highpoint. When I first put “Ruins” on I thought “yaaaawwwwwnnnn!” took it off and left it unplayed for about a week. It just seemed like more of the same and I was bored of it. After further listens however, there’s a bit more to it than “Stay Gold”.
“It’s A Shame” is an obvious stand out, possessing a certain earworminess. “Postcard” has an authentic country twang, sounding like one of the more palatable classic country hits of yore and “Fireworks” is beginning to grab me with its lilting melody and melancholic tone. Closing track, “Nothing Has To Be True” has an epic feel to it and ends with a bit of subversive noise, kinda like The Flaming Lips and Jim O’Rourke have done in the past, but not quite to the same extent.
All in all, I think that this is a better album than “Stay Gold”. If you need to re-endear yourself to them after all this time, there is footage on YouTube of them playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.
Addendum: Listening to this on iTunes whilst reviewing it, it has finished and run into “Stay Gold”, which, two tracks in is sounding better than I remembered. Alas! Fickle old me.
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