First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
A sign of a great album is that you feel you’ve heard all the songs before. They’re familiar, but fresh. They’re easy to get into your head, because they’re familiar. But they stay in your head, because they complement the sounds that are already there. A sign of a bad album is that you feel you’ve heard all the songs before. They’re familiar, but derivative. As soon as you’ve heard them, you forget them. At best, they might make you want to return to the original, but if they do then it’s at the expense of the copy. The Lion’s Roar makes you feel you’ve heard all the songs before. And it’s a great album. It’s clearly coming from a certain place. ‘Emmylou’ gives you a clue, but, as if that wasn’t enough, it name checks Gram and Johnny and June as well. But this is no Elite Hotel 2. No Return of the Grievous Angel. The songs might be inspired by a sound past, but the spirit is new. The harmonies soar. And sometimes they transcend. Near the end of ‘Dance to Another Tune’, the song just takes off in a different, wonderful direction. Sure, there’s a familiarity to The Lion’s Roar. But in a good way, creating its own precedent that others will want to follow.