Review: First Aid Kit, Swedish Indie-Folkers, Return With R.E.M.'s Guitarist

Our take on 'Ruins,' the fourth LP from the Scandinavian sisters

First Aid Kid's fourth album is 'Ruins.' Credit: Lauren Dukoff

Like Brits did with U.S. punk, Swedes Klara and Johanna Söderberg repurposed Davis Sisters-style country harmony on their 2012 breakthrough "Emmylou" into a bright new thing, laying into notes like they were tunnel-boring through glaciers. Producing their fourth set, folk-rock impressionist Tucker Martine (Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, Sufjan Stevens, the Decemberists) helps shape a dreamy grandeur, with touches of pedal steel and Peter Buck's guitar atmospherics, while a damaged romance bleeds across a widescreen America – it's like a Sergio Leone film starring Lana Del Rey, doubled. At times, the musical ornamentation feels too much. But when those two voices combine, it all falls away.