I thought it appropriate to make the first subject of the ‘we love’ series the band that, inadvertently, inspired this sites name. Tonight We Dance, Tomorrow We Cry is a saying I’ve been familiar with for a while – usually used to express the juxtaposition of emotions on the penultimate night of a multi-day event like a holiday or some such occasion. Around the time that I was thinking of starting this, I was reading a post about First Aid Kit’s first American tour and apparently their drummer used the saying on the final night. It put the phrase at the forefront of my mind again and I decided to use it for this site.
None of that is at all relevant to this post though, so I’ll stop rambling and get on with things.
First Aid Kit are Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg. Aged just 19 and 18 respectively, they write the kind of tear stained folk music that belies their years. Lyrically, also, they sing tales with subject matter so far removed from the life of your average teenager that it makes as about as much sense as if Plan B were to suddenly start donning a suit and crooning… oh, right.
Indeed, much like the aforementioned Mr B’s reinvention shouldn’t work, neither should teenage girls singing songs of arguing spouses and weary journeys – but work it certainly does.
‘You’re Not Coming Home Tonight’, for example, sees them sing ‘Yeah, you cooked his dinners and you raised his children / But still he’s not satisfied / He said I’d rather switch with you / You don’t know how hard it is / To work from nine to five’
‘Ghost Town’ is equally strange subject matter for two so young ‘I can see it now you’re married and your wife is with a child / You’re all laughing in the garden / And I’m lost somewhere in your mind’
It is essentially folk music inspired by the great and the good of the genre. Think Oberst, Marling and Adams, think Dylan, Young and Parsons. The remarkable thing is not that these girls draw influence from such giants, but that they actually make music good enough to not be swamped by such comparisons.
If their debut EP Drunken Trees – although at 7 tracks it is a little more than your average EP – was enough to grab the attention of a few, then an exquisite cover of Fleet Foxes‘ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ filmed in a forest and posted on YouTube, was enough to grab the attention of many. With over a million views followed by a record deal with the consistently brilliant Wichita Recordings, it is arguably one of the most influential ‘homemade’ videos ever made. It’s certainly very different to the kind of homemade videos I usually watch, anyway – although the Swedish sisters thing isn’t necessarily all that different.
With the record contract secured, they delivered an album proper at the beginning of the year, the stunning, critically acclaimed The Big Black and the Blue. It has a fuller sound than it’s predecessor and sees the girls perfect the harmonies that so often render them head and shoulders above their peers. And not just their peers, either. Songs like ‘Hard Believer’, ‘Heavy Storm’, ‘I Met Up With The King’ and the aforementioned ‘Ghost Town’ would hold their own against anything that those who have been such influences upon them have released. High praise that may be, but when you consider their youth it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine them forging a legacy to match some of those influences, too, providing they can keep putting out records of such quality in the future.
Speaking of the future, they have been playing a new song, ‘The Lion’s Roar’, at their recent live shows which is more aggressive and rough than their usual sound and hints towards a very interesting second LP.
I am yet to hear anyone say anything negative about FAK, and if they keep going the way they have been, it will be a very, very long time before I do.
Also, if anyone should tell you that they have heard a song more beautiful that ‘Pervigilo’, then that person is a liar.
You’ll thank me for it.