First Aid Kit


Feeding Tube in collaboration with Ba Da Bing present: "She can be a real pain in the ass," is how Big Blood's Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella describe having their daughter as a member of the band they formed in the wake of Cerberus Shoal's dissolution. A band made up of family seems like an ideal situation. You get to play with those you love, and practicing/recording is always just a matter of going into the next room . . . Quinnissa, who was 13 when First Aid Kit was recorded has skills . . . Quinnisa's voice has developed into an astonishing powerhouse of force. While she has been contributing to Big Blood records almost since birth, First Aid Kit solidifies her clear talent. All her lyrics are improvised in the moment while recording, a real shock to realize considering how insightful and perfectly suited to the song they are. 'Never Ending Nightmare' candidly and perfectly describes the anxieties of being a teenager today. Or the heartache of '1000 Times' . . . Teenage impulses fit right in with the band's intent, which is making music that's honest, inclusive and flawed. Inventiveness in the moment wins out over belabored, repeated takes, as the group is in a constant state of creation. Songs sound fully built and realized, but they actually rise out of improvisation. Big Blood channel the moment and let go once they finish . . . Mulkerin's descriptions of different songs on the record run like faint recalled dreams . . . Many songs touch on the fear and horrors outside a safe home space, fitting for a record made during COVID. They sing about their feelings in the moment, so lyrics are often topical. 'Makes Me Wonder' is about Ma'kihia Bryant, a 16 year-old black girl shot by police. While any fan of the band will tell you that no two albums sound very much alike, First Aid Kit displaying for the first time their affinity for the emotional effects of bands like The Cure, Bauhaus and The Clean, there's a clear thread throughout all their records. First, there's Kinsella's voice, which pivots from upbeat fun to pure dread, presumably based on how she was feeling that day she recorded. Secondly, Mulkerin's production preserves layers of could-have-beens by keeping the ghostly presence of past takes alive in the background of tracks like subliminal thoughts. Their songs achieve the double satisfaction of being immediate, catchy and memorable, while also revealing inner depths at repeated listens. Some of the best experimental music is cloaked as mundane. First Aid Kit was recorded entirely at the family's home onto 1" eight-track tape. It achieves the magic of capturing a moment and making a lasting impression. There aren't many family bands, and there's definitely no other band like this." --Ben Goldberg