If you want to like country music, but just can’t seem to get past the painfully modern example soiled with thumpin' beats and lyrics about “stealin' kisses from your babe”, start with First Aid Kit. With so much saturation of indie folk and the likes, true country can be annoyingly hard to come by; especially with the heart that country is known to contain. And while First Aid Kit may or may not have hit the mark, "Ruins" is a real sweet country album for you.
The main sound running through this entire album is a soft blend of country blues and dreamy shoegaze. Frankly, this uniquely gentle mix feels pretty special, if not a little sleepy. With the use of lap steel guitar, violins, and twang here and there, certain moments feel more country. With the use of starry keyboards, synthesized hums and poetic lyrics, certain moments feel more dreamy. Though, overall, the blend is very subtle, and creates a soft and relax mood through a majority of the tracks.
In addition to winding down to some soft, girly indie, there are a few reputable moments where the Söderberg sisters really impress. The longer, almost five-minute tracks of “Rebel Heart”, “Fireworks”, and “Nothing Has to Be True” totally extend the experience and show a little more of the choreography First Aid Kit is capable of. The final track, “Nothing Has to Be True” particularly showcases dynamic talent, in an emotionally escalating piece. It’s also worth mentioning “Postcard”, the track where the album is most purely country, “Ruins”, a cut with quite powerful vocal harmony, and “Hem of her Dress”, for an incredible , unexpected climax surprise.
All in all, this is a great album that sweetly balances soft, girl indie and country feelings. Don’t be fooled, as it is a little on the sleepy side. Perhaps, though, we should just let the vibe of this album be what it will be, and accept the most heartfelt modern-day country we can find.
For Listeners of:
Iron & Wine