ACL Live Shot: First Aid Kit
Zilker Park, Oct. 12
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 19, 2012
Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg are complementing and countering forces. It's a balance that emerges most readily in their effortless harmonies, but also in the yin and yang of brunette Klara's acoustic guitar to blonde Johanna's low-end keyboard beat. Likewise, their songwriting is beautifully woven with darker threads; folk touched with just enough pop gleam to float in the early afternoon breeze like the duo's flaring vintage dresses. The sisters opened a cappella with "In the Morning" from 2009 debut LP The Big Black and The Blue before drummer Mattias Bergqvist began adding a gallop that carried throughout the set. "Blue" hued with shades of Joni Mitchell against the defiant disillusion of "To A Poet" and the rushing rhythm of "Wolf." Their stunning cover of Paul Simon's "America" provided the early festival highlight, though the trio's take on fellow Swede Fever Ray's "When I Grow Up" proved equally compelling, and their own song "Emmylou" and the brooding title track from this year's breakout, The Lion's Roar, established First Aid Kit's own compositional talent. Though the young Söderberg sisters obviously still have much room for growth, there's more promise in their casual combination than most of their folk-revival contemporaries' forced harmonies.