First Aid Kit have expanded their sound for sure, but they lack the natural roar of their earliest albums.Columbia, 2018
6.3 / 10
Back when First Aid Kit released what I believe is their best record, The Lion’s Roar, it wasn’t a big budget affair. Rather, it felt organic. The sister duo of Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s love of the music they were making came through naturally. Almost like a certain Fleet Foxes cover. Here we are two albums later with Ruins. And although the sisters remain flawless in their ability to create country-tinged folk, it lacks a certain, gritty spark.
It’s hard to explain, but it’s as if Klara and Johanna no longer have to push themselves or overcome a lack of equipment for the music they want to make. So, while they still make good songs, they lack the intimacy of their earlier work. Even when the sisters attempt to recapture some of that intimacy with big moments, they come off as phony. There’s no better example of this than the climax of “Hem of Her Dress” where everyone recording in the studio seem to lose themselves in the song and begin singing along with the melody. It should feel like it’s happening organically, but they force it instead. And it just makes me miss the times when they didn’t have to do that.