Ruins, the first long-player from First Aid Kit since Stay Gold in 2014, is due out on Friday, Jan. 19th. As has become somewhat customary in today’s music-marketing world, quite a few of the album’s songs have already seen official release – instead of a stand-alone single released a month or two ahead of the album, some acts now release three or more individual tracks over a period of months. It’s just the way it is.
The downside: If the songs aren’t strong, they can lessen one’s expectations of the album. And, too, the availability of those early tracks can and do diminish what should be a series of welcome surprises on release day. Instead of hitting play and being amazed (or, sometimes, dismayed) by the music seeping from the speakers, it’s somewhat akin to a fill-in-the-blank exercise. The knowns can overshadow the unknowns on first listen, in other words, giving a false sense of the album’s overall strength or weakness.
The upside, at least in the case of Klara and Johanna Söderberg: New songs! Good songs! And cool videos! The four early songs all sound great to my ears – “Fireworks,” especially, seems destined to be embedded in playlists for decades to come.
And, with all that said, here’s a roundup of songs (both TV appearances and aforementioned cool videos) from Ruins:
1) “It’s a Shame” – FAK appeared on The Graham Norton Show in the UK last week. (Stay tuned after the song for a brief interview with them.)
2) “Fireworks” – From an appearance on the Scandinavian TV show Skavlan. An amazing performance.
3) “Postcard” – An official video. The song sounds like a lost country treasure from the ‘70s.
4) “Ruins.” Another official video, from the same set as “Postcard.” The title track from the album is a meditation on a relationship gone wrong; and it’s a low-key wonder.
And here’s a clip that captures a cool cover that, hopefully, First Aid Kit will include in their set on their forthcoming tour. (It features the Tallest Man on Earth who, at least from afar, looks shorter than Johanna. )
5) “Graceland” –
And, finally, a very cool and illuminating two-part interview with the sisters Söderberg: