Live Review: First Aid Kit

Posted on May 7, 2010

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Venue: Jericho Tavern, Oxford.

Hailing from their native home of Stockholm, First Aid Kit waltz on stage to a heaving cluster of fans upstairs at the Jericho Tavern. Aged merely 16 and 19 respectively Klara and Johanna Soderberg give an effortless rendition of their recently released debut album The Big Black and The Blue.  Dressed in identical vintage dresses not only do this duo look elegant in appearance, they also radiate an aura of maturity in their music. Crooning of failed love affairs, recalling memories of younger years and a noticeable obsession with the seasons, it could be said that the girls have grown up beyond their adolescent experiences.

Considering the rather nostalgic content First Aid Kit songs may appeal more to a congregation of withered pensioners rather than a sell out, hushed audience in the intimate music room. However despite the apparent old-fashioned narratives, sparkling eyes remain transfixed to the harmonizing sisters twinkling on an acoustic guitar and electronic keyboard. Describing their style as “what Gary Numan would sound like if he made folk” on their Myspace page, it is obvious what other elements fuel their inspiration. In a spine-tingling bluegrass-style lament, haunting melodies drift over a fusion of country-and-western rhythms and rigid military drum riffs provided by Charlie Smoliansky. With voices reminiscent of the child-like eeriness of Kate Bush and hints of Björk’s yodelling, clearly First Aid Kit merge elements of their favourite genres to create an album of catchy four minute pop songs. Musically, the material is far from ground breaking yet the pair exude an air of confidence and composure throughout the evening; Johanna casually liaises with the crowd even when a guitar string breaks.

Although First Aid Kit are evidently closely tied to the deep rooted tradition of singing and songwriting, some may find their music dated or, as I found, slightly contrived. Rather than recalling tales which illuminate further who they are as teenagers they cleverly create music which remains classic. That mentioned if First Aid Kit continue to expand their cult following and offer other seamless performances like tonight they are guaranteed to steal the hearts of future audiences whilst on tour.

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Posted in: Music, Reviews