First Aid Kit, Willy Mason | Park West | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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First Aid Kit, Willy Mason 

When: Wed., June 4, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $25
Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg harmonize gracefully in Swedish group First Aid Kit, and the blend of their voices has been the most reliably appealing element of their music for three increasingly assured albums now. The brand-new Stay Gold (Columbia), like its 2012 predecessor, The Lion’s Roar, was made in Omaha with producer Mike Mogis; arranger Nate Walcott surrounded the vocals with rolling strings, buoyant reeds, and warm smears of steel guitar. It’s beautiful stuff, but it doesn’t quite conceal that the Söderbergs are still novice songwriters. On the album’s opener, “My Silver Lining,” they try to wedge too many syllables into certain measures, and the finesse of their phrasing suffers—hurrying through “I don’t know if I’m scared of dying, but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow” in two four-beat measures makes R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet sound like a model of restraint. The lyrics can also feel naive, but because both women are in their early 20s, they can perhaps be forgiven for indulging in cliches such as taking the road less traveled (“My Silver Lining”), seizing the day (“Stay Gold”), and facing your loneliness head-on (“Waitress Song”). At any rate, there’s more than enough good stuff happening in First Aid Kit’s music to persuade me that they’ll sort out the problems soon enough. —Peter Margasak

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