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First Aid Kit retain their essential emotional vulnerability on Palomino

"Palomino"

Release date: 04 November 2022
6/10
First Aid Kit - Palomino cover
04 November 2022, 00:00 Written by Jozie Konczal
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While their 2018 album Ruins – which saw the Söderbergs sisters of First Aid Kit reunited after a three year hiatus – revels in the devastating aftermath of lost love, Palomino demonstrates what it looks like to come out on the other side.

It feels like it's been a moment since the Swedish duo has gifted the folk-loving sad girls of the world with new music. And thankfully Palomino is a return to their familiar and comforting poetic and melancholic storytelling powers.

While Ruins sonically and lyrically explored the lessons learned and knowledge gained through heartbreak, the emotional vulnerability expected of the sisters remains an essential component in Palomino. Tracks like “Angel” exemplify a mature acceptance of unrequited love. If you come to the duo’s album Palomino in search of the lyrical narratives and timeless harmonies of past projects, you won’t be disappointed.

Without over indulging melodrama, “Nobody Knows” opens with atmospheric violins and thoughtful guitar strums, which move to assist the listener in “let[ting] the sorrow wash you over,” as the lyrics advise. The listener is again reminded of the continuing theme of renewal on this record. And yet it never risks the falsely constructed positivity that so often goes hand in hand with a “coming back from heartbreak” album. The Söderbergs are comfortable in acknowledging loss and longing alongside excitement and comfort. The most poignant ballads of Palomino are spare and without frills. What songs such as “Wild Horses II” lack in complexity, they make up for in refreshing honesty and elegant composition. Even as it laments, Palomino resists bitterness and edges toward optimism, if not outright hope.

The album does not, however, unveil many particularly striking or new facets of the sisters’ talents. Each song sounds distinctly theirs. Even “A Feeling That Never Came,” departs ever so slightly from the familiar folk sound with the introduction of energetic chords (think: Grace Potter), it maintains the sparkling vocals, honest admittances, and specific storytelling that are the Söderbergs signatures.

“A Feeling That Never Came” is refreshing, though, in that it boosts a bit of a catchier chorus. While the song might be one about emptiness, the track itself is a full and dynamic anthem employing captivating vocals and apt metaphors. For some this may be more comforting than it is disappointing, as they continue to do what they do best. Much like their album Stay Gold, Palomino feels like the windows down on a sunny day (the way I think First Aid Kit should be listened), and this sensation is even one referenced in the title track as it brings the record to an end.

This new First Aid Kit record offers optimism and honesty, and supplies the listener with a spectrum of emotions and moods. Despite a variation in themes, the album maintains cohesion. Undoubtedly the records is held together by the Söderbergs practiced and scintillating vocals, which undoubtedly are best suited for harmonising with the other, as well as their knack for putting their feelings into words.

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