Two Swedish sisters doing Americana and folk so convincingly you'd swear they're from somewhere Down South? Yes please! Johanna and Klara Soderberg have been around since 2008 and "The Lion's Roar" is their second full length, the follow-up to 2010's "The Big Black & The Blue". Produced by Mike Mogis, best known for his work with Bright Eyes, this is an album of dark beauty, filled with brooding folk ballads and haunting vocal harmonies.
"The Lion's Roar" is awash in acoustics, slide guitars and enough lovely twang to satisfy the most die hard fans of this genre, but it is the Soderberg's intertwining vocals that carry these songs. Highlights include the soothing 'oohs' of "In The Hearts Of Men", the shuffling duet "I Found A Way" and the country influenced "Emmylou", mandatory listening for anyone who thinks the likes of Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood represent true country music.
As mentioned above, there is a darkness to a large portion of this material. "Dance To Another Tune" menacingly builds over its near five minutes, spacey, echoed vocals adding to the barren landscape of the song. The title cut is my personal favorite, a beautiful, bold track with an impassioned, borderline angry vocal that is dripping with power. And dig the medieval sounding music, this song is bliss!
Five years ago, I would have bypassed this type of music. Now it's among my favorite genres when it is done right. From Josh Ritter and Mumford & Sons to Fleet Foxes, there is so much good folk influenced music floating about and now two sisters from Sweden, just 18 and 20 years old, add their names to that list. First Aid Kit have produced another of early 2012's best.
"The Lion's Roar" was released in the U.S. January 24, 2012 on the Wichita Recordings label.