First Aid Kit Mends Broken Pasts In "Ruins"

The interworkings of the past are woven by the strands of time. Art tends to try and capture those moments that make up those strings, and it isn't easy to avoid getting caught in a web of them. First Aid Kid mends broken pasts in Ruins, an ambitious album with a lot of hope.

First Aid Kid is a sister duo from Norway, and that means they've known each other's struggles. Ruins is built out of all the struggles the two have faced, whether it be from the inside looking in or the outside as a bystander. 'Rebel Heart' introduces the record on a fitting note, its dark and dramatic atmosphere promising that the two will look ahead and forge through the pain and burdens of their past, regardless of what they're expected to do. The duo unite throughout the record in wonderful harmonies, as if their voices are fighting together to defeat the burdens of the past: a great example of this is 'Hem Of Her Dress,' a song about old love, that sees their two voices coming together and then leading a crowd of others towards healing.

Not everything is quite as uplifting, though. 'Fireworks' is a pretty song near the start of the record, and it's heartbreaking. A beautiful orchestra follows other laidback instruments, vocals soaring and crying out for a lover from the past and the memories that continue to haunt. 'Distant Star' is a bit more existentially sobering, the chorus warning: "Hold on to whatever you can until it's gone / Carry on, for none of us will be here for too long." There are some very folky, country instrumentals on the record, but they all fit very nicely with the genuine tone of the record. The twangy acoustics help 'Postcard' get that pure, grassroots vibe of the emotions across, while the fingerpicked 'Ruins' becomes very genuine and raw. Closing track 'Nothing Has To Be True' offers climax, the sweet build sounding full of resolve and ready to move forward, as if to put that past behind it and continue with life ahead.

First Aid Kit mends broken pasts in Ruins, using the burdens of their past to help them start moving forward. This Norwegian sister duo definitely knows loss and pain, and it really comes out powerfully on the record. The emotions are raw and the music follows accordingly. Not every song is a hit, but every song has meaning, each of which will take you back to your own times of uncertainty and make sure you're able to forge ahead.

Favorite Tracks: Fireworks, Distant Star, Hem Of Her Dress

Least Favorite Track: My Wild Sweet Love

Rating: 76 / 100

Stream or buy Ruins on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist: