First Aid Kit’s latest studio album, Stay Gold, is full of the charm that has drawn listeners to the band since the beginning. The album certainly seems to be the moodiest, most melancholy, and most percussive album the band has produced thus far, yet it is undoubtedly one of the most mature sounding, a reflection of how far the sisters have come.
Very rarely on this album does one hear the light and whimsical sounds of those heard in their earlier songs like “Emmylou.” Rather, the songs seem to capture a heavier sound. Even the more charming songs, such as “Heaven Knows,” contain more pronounced musical accompaniment that differs from the light-folky sounds of earlier albums. The first four tracks, “My Silver Lining,” “Master Pretender,” “Stay Gold,” and “Cedar Lane” coincidentally happen to be my favorite four on the album. The writing on this album is also something that jumps out; the songs seem to be more personal and wholehearted.
I was supposed to attend the sisters’ concert the other day, but unfortunately could not attend at the last minute (tears for days). I imagine the presentation of this new album differs from the live performances from a few years ago for there seems to have been significant musical progression between this album and The Lion’s Roar and The Big Black and the Blue. By this, I definitely do not mean First Aid Kit has become a “better band,” because I never thought they needed improvement in the first place. Rather, I note that it seems that there has been advancement within as a band and as musicians from previous albums. Again, that sounds a bit like I am minimizing how spectacular their previous albums are, which I am not at all. What I mean to say is that First Aid Kit has come a long way since 2007. With each year and with each album they further solidify their position as a prominent band in folk music.