Wednesday, 27 June 2018

2018 Contenders: In Case Of Emergency...

It's almost four years since I named Stay Gold, the last album by First Aid Kit, as my album of the year... so it's fair to say my anticipation and expectations for their follow-up were stratospheric.

Ruins is a lovely record, complete with the usual mix of angelic harmonies and timeless Laurel-Canyon-via-Stockholm folk. The album dwells on heartbreak and loss, yet makes it all sound so beautiful you almost wish you were experiencing those emotions too. When I'm listening to it, I cannot fault it. Klara and Johanna even get to indulge their Stevie Nicks fantasies on Rebel Heart.

So why do I know this won't be my favourite album of 2018?

Is it because the production sounds a little bit too polished, as the record company clearly push them towards a Radio 2 mainstream?

Is it because, lyrically, the themes of loss and heartbreak don't quite resonate with me in the same way Stay Gold's themes did? (At the time, I said: "It's a record about growing old, about happiness being fleeting, about not knowing what you've got till it's gone... and yes, Joni would approve.")

Or is it because once a band has reached perfection, and my unrealistic expectations are for more of the same (an impossibility, since perfection itself is fleeting) or even better (no chance!), they can only really disappoint me?

Maybe a little bit of all those things, but don't let that put you off. There's much to be enjoyed here. I've been listening to Ruins on and off since February and haven't grown tired of it yet.


  1. It's an excellent LP Rol, but, like you it would appear, I haven't taken it to my heart in quite the same fashion as I did 'Stay Gold'.

  2. I 2nd The Swede's statement and think Rol has nailed it with that " unrealistic expectations" line.

  3. Off topic, Rol, but in case you still aren't receiving email notification when someone comments, this worked for me:

    1. Thanks, Martin. What a pfaff. I've tried messing around with those settings, so we'll see if it makes a difference.

  4. Great album - was going to write a "thing" myself but never got round to it.
    A definite contender.


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