I’ll listen to this album again, but First Aid Kit’s newest, Ruins, seems to be suffering a bit from their new major record label’s Sophomore Slump. Or, maybe Ruins just doesn’t have an admirably written tune like “Waitress Song” to anchor it as did their previous effort, Stay Gold. Either way, on a first listen, I was a little bummed by some of the clichéd and overly abstract lyricism, though the ladies still sing quite prettily with a most-satisfying original flair. That latter aspect of the album stood out to me even more on the first half of a second listen, thank goodness, way before I’d even gotten close to the miracle of “Hem of Her Dress” (track 9) and what a concrete image can do for a record to elevate it beyond elevator music. Pun intended.
Suggested Use: Take this one on your next trip, elevator or otherwise, but especially if you’re driving. The harmonies speak of wide-open spaces and rural mountainsides, while the actual lyrics about postcards, what one leaves behind, and “getting where you’re going you dirty rascal” add some much needed duende to the beauty that surrounds one … on vacation. Don’t need duende in your vacations? Save this for your drive when you return to work for a month of Mondays and then some. No matter how much you love your job, you’re going to need some beauty like this album provides. Believe me.
Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks
by Thomas Mann.