From: Enskede, Sweden
Story: Two teenaged sisters, one Fleet Foxes cover, many smitten admirers
Sound: Acoustic songwriterism and woodland wailing
As 2008 was on its way to being officially crowned the year of Fleet Foxes, a pair of sweet Swedish teenagers unsuspectingly hitched a ride on the Foxes' runaway bandwagon. Johanna and Klara Söderberg are a pair of sisters from suburban Stockholm who play the autoharp and acoustic guitar, respectively, and sing their lungs out. And what better band for a budding pair of harmony-lovin' lasses to cover than Fleet Foxes, whose love of four-part harmony is such that leader Robin Pecknold once told me: "if we could do a record of us just singing, that’d make me just as happy as making some mammoth, crazy orchestral record."
In such spirit, the Söderberg sisters stepped out into the woods, belted out a tender, to-camera cover of "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song," and life went on. Except... in that familiar mode of internet mania, over time half-a-million humans would come to witness this little cover-version, introducing the sisters' duo, First Aid Kit, to an unexpectedly massive audience.
First Aid Kit's debut EP, Drunken Trees, has since been issued by the UK's Wichita label, the imprint that introduced the world to fellow Swedish teenagers, Those Dancing Days (oh, and, um, Bloc Party, too). The eight-song set may close with their immaculate Foxes cover, but it certainly reveals a band who can pen a tune of their own, too. Influenced by songsmiths from Dylan and Cohen through to Bon Iver and Bright Eyes, the band favor narrative lyrics; each song essentially telling a short-story told in two-part harmony.
First Aid Kit are promising a debut album proper in September, full of 10 new tunes, none of them written by Pecknold. For now, if you haven't witnessed the sisters in "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" action, take a trip to their Myspzzz and play away. No matter how many times you witness it, it remains forever magical.
- Visit: First Aid Kit on MySpace