The Magic Whip
Their third album and major label debut finds the Söderberg sisters' ambition sky-rocketing.
Klara and Johanna Söderberg are a strange proposition: a Swedish country outfit that really works. Come cold to Stay Gold and you'll be happy to believe they come from somewhere east of Nashville — just not quite that far east. With sympathetic, indeed sparkling production from Bright Eyes'/Monsters Of Folk's Mike Mogis, this is a record that utterly convinces as a trad country piece yet, impressively, it still feels fresh.
The special magic of sibling harmonies helps, of course, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The Söderbergs have always been like that. For Stay Gold, the tunes are brighter and the stories deeper. Those classic country tropes of memory and regret are mined for all they're worth on the lightfooted Harry Nilsson-esque flow of Master Pretender, the stately melodrama of Cedar Lane and the swelling, urgent Shattered & Hollow, but there's nothing insincere about it. First Aid Kit inhabit their songs.
And what songs. My Silver Lining trundles along on cowboy strings with a chorus that rises like the sun, and Waitress Song dips and tumbles with affecting splendour as the Söderbergs mesh sweet voices and sweeter melodies. If Columbia Records ever worried they were risking their big bucks, they should sleep easy now.