First Aid Kit: Ruins review – As soothing as a warm coat

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Artist: First Aid Kit
Genre: Pop
Label: Columbia

Emerging in the late 2000s as a good, old-fashioned MySpace sensation, Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg offer warm orchestration, heartfelt lyricism and a focus on unprocessed arrangements – a soothing narcotic to acolytes of throwback folk rock and country. Produced by long-time genre specialist Tucker Martin (Laura Veirs, My Morning Jacket), fourth album Ruins is a fine showcase of First Aid Kit's brand of rich Americana.

Opener Rebel Heart encapsulates the band's remit, all fetching harmonies and echoing guitar lines as soothing as a warm coat in a Colorado snow storm. The soaring chorus of My Wild Sweet Love should see it enter the same pantheon as perhaps the duo's most cherished older track, My Silver Lining, while It's a Shame highlights the band's open-book songwriting as Klara reflects on a disintegrated relationship. Best of all is the single Fireworks, a soulful ballad of 1950s vintage that captures harmful self-doubt.

Not included is You Are the Problem Here, last year's jagged-riffed, lo-fi rock track that unflinchingly condemned sexual assault. Its omission is a shame since it's not just a hard-hitting, necessary song, it showcased another side to the pair sonically. Still, there's plenty here to shore up First Aid Kit's woodsy base.