Ruins (First Aid Kit album)

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Ruins
Ruins by First Aid Kit.jpg
Studio album by
Released19 January 2018
Recorded2017
StudioFlora Recording & Playback (Portland, Oregon)
GenreFolk, indie folk
Length39:34
LabelColumbia
ProducerTucker Martine
First Aid Kit chronology
Stay Gold
(2014)
Ruins
(2018)
Singles from Ruins
  1. "It's a Shame"
    Released: 28 September 2017
  2. "Postcard"
    Released: 27 October 2017
  3. "Fireworks"
    Released: 1 December 2017

Ruins is the fourth studio album by Swedish indie folk duo First Aid Kit. The album was produced by Tucker Martine and features contributions from R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Wilco's Glenn Kotche and Midlake's McKenzie Smith.[1] The album was released on 19 January 2018. The lead single "It's a Shame" was released on 28 September 2017.

Background[edit]

After First Aid Kit broke through internationally with their cover of the song "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by Fleet Foxes in 2008 the duo released three albums in six years. In an interview Klara Söderberg said: "We started touring in 2009, and between playing and recording, we never had a break. By 2015, I was kind of spent. I had a hard time expressing, let alone understanding how exhausted I was until I couldn’t do it anymore." Her sister Johanna has had a similar experience and said in the same interview: "It just came to us in different ways, having breakdowns, crying on stage, feeling it was too much ... We decided together we needed a break, and it was really hard for me to do that. I got restless and struggled with the down time, but we both needed that space. We didn’t speak for months. We had to have a divorce before we could write music again."[2]

In August 2015 after the tour of Stay Gold ended they took a break until April 2016. In this period Klara's relationship ended which influenced the record and brought forth the title of the album: "It’s the ruins of a relationship. How sad it is, but also how beautiful it was. That’s all you have left at the end."[1][3] In 2016 Klara and Johanna reconvened in Los Angeles to write the new album.[2] The first single 'It's a Shame' reflects on the shining sun in LA 'forcing' them to feel happy while in a sad mood.[1][4] They wrote the album track 'Rebel Heart' in a remote house in Joshua Tree.[5] The song "My Wild Sweet Love" was initially written for the 2014 film The Fault in Our Stars but was rejected. The album closer "Nothing Has to Be True" was written on a Gibson guitar from 1928 bought as gift by Jack White.[5][6]

Recording[edit]

In January 2017 the band started recording in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine. The album features contributions of R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Wilco's Glenn Kotche and Midlake's McKenzie Smith. Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs can be heard on the song "Hem of Her Dress" along with Klara and Johanna's mother and brother.[5]

Promotion and release[edit]

In support of the album the band announced a North-American tour for the spring of 2018 with ensuing dates for the UK, Europe and Australia.

The lead single "It's a Shame" was released on 28 September 2017. The music video, directed by Mats Udd, was posted on YouTube on 10 October 2017.[7]

The second single "Postcard" was released on 27 October 2017 with an accompanying lyrics video posted the same day on YouTube.[8]

The third single "Fireworks" was released on 1 December 2017. The music video was also directed by Mats Udd. The clip was posted on YouTube on 5 January 2018.[9]

The title track "Ruins" was made available for download on 12 January 2018.

On 12 January 2018, the duo appeared on The Graham Norton Show, performing the song "It's a Shame". On 23 January 2018, they also performed the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[10]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[11]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[12]
The Guardian4/5 stars[13]
The Independent3/5 stars[14]
The A.V. ClubB[15]
Exclaim!8/10[16]
NME4/5 stars[17]
Pitchfork6.4/10[18]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[19]

The album received acclaim from many critics. Based on 26 reviews Ruins received a Metacritic score of 76 which indicates the reviews were generally favorable.[10] Marcy Donelson of AllMusic considered Ruins "never complacent, though, keeping its rough, rustic edges."[11] In his review Daniel Sylvester of Exclaim! concluded: "Lyrically and sonically, Ruins helps First Aid Kit gives listeners a mature, realized and often heartbreaking version of this young band's oeuvre."[16] Andy Gill of The Independent stated: "If 2014’s Stay Gold expressed a deep desire for change, then Ruins rakes through the rubble left by those changes." He praised the "instinctive harmonies, which remain as sweet as ever."[14] Drowned in Sound's Joe Goggins gave the album a mixed review stating: "The question hanging over it, though, is how long First Aid Kit can get away with making revisions to the original model before the law of diminishing returns begins to kick in hard."[20] In July BBC Radio 6 Music listed 'Ruins' as one of their best 18 albums of the year so far.[21] A gold record was awarded in Sweden in August.[22]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Klara and Johanna Söderberg.

No.TitleLength
1."Rebel Heart"5:22
2."It's a Shame"4:00
3."Fireworks"4:15
4."Postcard"3:47
5."To Live a Life"3:13
6."My Wild Sweet Love"3:55
7."Distant Star"3:10
8."Ruins"3:31
9."Hem of Her Dress"3:23
10."Nothing Has to Be True"4:58
Total length:39:34

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[23] 13
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[24] 37
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[25] 7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[26] 76
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[27] 28
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[28] 10
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[29] 10
French Albums (SNEP)[30] 60
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[31] 42
Irish Albums (IRMA)[32] 10
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[33] 4
Scottish Albums (OCC)[34] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[35] 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 11
UK Albums (OCC)[37] 3
US Billboard 200[38] 47
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[39] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[40] 6

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tom Lanham (18 January 2018). "Interview: First Aid Kit on Turning Ruins Into 'Ruins'". Paste.
  2. ^ a b Greg Kot (25 January 2018). "First Aid Kit 'divorce' leads to renewed music". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ Tom (19 January 2018). "hmv.com talks to First Aid Kit about new LP Ruins". hmv.com.
  4. ^ Robin Murray (29 September 2018). "First Aid Kit Breeze Back With 'It's A Shame'". Clash.
  5. ^ a b c Lake Schatz (19 January 2018). "Track By Track: First Aid Kit break down their new album, Ruins, plus stream it in full". Consequence of Sound.
  6. ^ "First Aid Kit - Instagram". Instagram. 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ "First Aid Kit - It's a Shame (Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  8. ^ "First Aid Kit - It's a Shame (Lyric Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  9. ^ "First Aid Kit - Fireworks". YouTube. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Ruins - First Aid Kit". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b Marcy Donelson. "First Aid Kit: Ruins". AllMusic.
  12. ^ Neil McCormick (18 January 2018). "First Aid Kit, Ruins, review – 'their best so far'". The Daily Telegraph.
  13. ^ Michael Hann (19 January 2018). "First Aid Kit: Ruins review". The Guardian.
  14. ^ a b Andy Gill (17 January 2018). "Album reviews: First Aid Kit – Ruins, Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us, Tune-Yards – I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life". The Independent.
  15. ^ Alex McLevy (19 January 2018). "First Aid Kit, They Might Be Giants, and 5 more albums to know about this week". The A.V. Club.
  16. ^ a b Daniel Sylvester (12 January 2018). "First Aid Kit – Ruins". Exclaim!.
  17. ^ Leonie Cooper (15 January 2018). "First Aid Kit – 'Ruins' Review". NME.
  18. ^ Stephen M. Deusner (19 January 2018). "First Aid Kit: Ruins". Pitchfork.
  19. ^ Will Hermes (18 January 2018). "Review: First Aid Kit, Swedish Indie-Folkers, Return With R.E.M.'s Guitarist". Rolling Stone.
  20. ^ Joe Goggins (18 January 2018). "First Aid Kit - Ruins". Drowned in Sound.
  21. ^ "The 18 best albums of 2018 so far - as recommended by 6 Music". BBC Radio 6 Music. 16 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Sverige topplistan" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 11 October 2018. To access, user must enter the search (Sök) parameter "First Aid Kit" and then press "Visa" buttons from the resulting album and single list
  23. ^ "Australiancharts.com – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – First Aid Kit – Ruins" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – First Aid Kit – Ruins" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – First Aid Kit – Ruins" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – First Aid Kit – Ruins" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  29. ^ "First Aid Kit: Ruins" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Lescharts.com – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – First Aid Kit – Ruins" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography First Aid Kit". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  35. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Swisscharts.com – First Aid Kit – Ruins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  38. ^ "First Aid Kit Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  39. ^ "First Aid Kit Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  40. ^ "First Aid Kit Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 February 2018.