First Aid Kit - Ruins
Critic Score
Based on 29 reviews
2018 Ratings: #479 / 737
User Score
Based on 240 ratings
2018 Ratings: #624
January 19, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Columbia / Label
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Ruins is a more mature record. Not that it’s darker per se; their gorgeous, blood-close harmonies and the sunny streaks of pedal steel guitar keep it from ever feeling too morose. Instead, there’s a gentle weight of experience that permeates the album’s lyrics, a freshly-sharpened edge of cynicism.

The Line of Best Fit

The sheer musicality of Ruins is something to be in awe of, let alone the inspired messages of female empowerment and the in-depth analysis of relationship culture. It’s a classic high-quality, well-arranged and passionate album from First Aid Kit, but this time – it’s not so innocent.


Lyrically and sonically, Ruins helps First Aid Kit gives listeners a mature, realized and often heartbreaking version of this young band's oeuvre.

‘Ruins’ is a lush, expansive release that uses the siblings’ uncanny blood harmony to full effect, elevating their low-key folk songs into something majestic.
The Skinny

Ruins doesn't aim to re-write the indie-folk/country rule book, rather, the Söderberg sisters are just fine-tuning their craft and growing into a comfortable groove.

God Is in the TV
First Aid Kit have come a long way since I first caught them at Leicester’s Summer Sundae Weekender when they were barely out of their school gym slips, but even then, it was very apparent that there was something special about them. I’m glad to say they’ve kept the magic.

Fans of Stay Gold will find a familiar bright, assertive sound, with Klara and Johanna's trademark tandem vocals bringing a certain air of resiliency to an unexpectedly lively set of songs.

The Telegraph

Ruins, First Aid Kit’s fourth album, is their best so far.

The Guardian
If one can’t really claim First Aid Kit explore much undiscovered territory with their music – you’re looking at the view from the back seat of a car, rather than the bench seat of a covered wagon – there’s much to be said for the familiar, when it’s delivered with such grace.

Drawing on a range of classic influences and captured expertly on record, ‘Ruins’ cements First Aid Kit’s place in the Americana songbook.

Under The Radar

First Aid Kit does not reinvent the wheel on this fourth record. Ruins sticks to the well-trodden path of Americana, and does so with guns blazing.

A.V. Club
It’s a very familiar take on Americana, full of heartbreak and yearning, but a damn reliable one.
Slant Magazine

Parts of their fourth studio album, Ruins, demonstrate that, with experience, First Aid Kit has gotten exceedingly proficient at imitating their favorite American artists.

Rolling Stone
At times, the musical ornamentation feels too much. But when those two voices combine, it all falls away.

A few more rough edges and sonic variety would shake things up, and possibly open new avenues, but for now things aren’t in Ruins, nor are they a consolation prize. Instead, this is just another good First Aid Kit album, one that suggests their peak hasn’t yet been reached.

American Songwriter
First Aid Kit’s latest may be a slightly more conservative gesture than their last record, but it synthesizes their many musical strains more fully than ever before.

Ruins is not much of a departure from their previous work, but existing fans won’t be disappointed by this record – it’s familiar, but delivered with such conviction it leaves you wanting to hear it again.

The Needle Drop

Though a few missteps keep Ruins from being First Aid Kit's best album, it's still packed with well-written, well-performed, and well-produced folk pop songs.


The follow-up to 2014’s major-label breakthrough Stay Gold, Ruins tweaks rather than overhauls Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s brand of pop-savvy Americana – yet the trademark harmonic couplings and rolling romantic surges can’t disguise a troubled undertow.

Consequence of Sound

While not their best, Ruins certainly stands as First Aid Kit’s most cohesive album, focused on the determination of moving forward from heartbreak.


Ruins, their fourth album, continues that twangy trajectory with songs like the elegant honky-tonk number “Postcard” and “Distant Star,” which shows off rougher-hewn harmonies. Both add new twists to the duo’s sound, refining rather than redefining First Aid Kit.

The Independent

The Soderberg sisters’ first album in four years is aptly titled. If 2014’s Stay Gold expressed a deep desire for change, then Ruins rakes through the rubble left by those changes.

Drowned in Sound

The duo have the tools to capture a wider public imagination than they are doing presently, and as lovely as Ruins is without them, First Aid Kit’s lack of edge is beginning to look less like prudent risk aversion and more like self-inflicted damage.

The Observer
On their fourth effort, First Aid Kit sound more hurt than ever, if just as mellifluous.
No Ripcord

Ruins is an affecting, comforting listen, but not one that will imprint itself too vividly in the memory.

FLOOD Magazine

While Ruins doesn’t quite beat out their debut album, it’s certainly the sisters’ best record since.

Loud and Quiet
‘Ruins’ is on brand – there’s the odd moment of adventure, but for anything beyond that it’ll have to be the Söderberg’s next record.
Pretty Much Amazing

Ruins isn’t a bad record, or a weak one, it’s a boring one.

Spectrum Culture

It’s also still impossible to knock the fluttering vocals between the sisters. That’s still golden ... But that can’t stop Ruins from sounding like a failed copy of previously delightful pastiche.

I had no experience with FAK prior to listening to Ruins and I'm kind of glad as this took me by complete surprise. There's a lovable simplicity to it at points and certain tracks that shake the formula up a bit hint at an act that are set to only get better.
Despite, First Aid Kit taking a more safe approach to this record, at some aspects the folk duo crafted some well-written and pleasant indie folk tunes.
I always set high hopes. They almost always let me down and fail to live up to their potential
Ruins sort of came out of no where for me. I've never known myself to enjoy any sort of folk music, so when I went into this album I didn't expect much. First Aid Kit completely surprised me. This album has a power to it, and feels real. I loved how passionate their voices were for the beautiful lyrics they sung, with instrumentals complementary but not overpowering.
I won't lie and say that I have listened to this album ever since it came out. In fact I probably haven't listened to it in over ... read more
First Aid Kit's Ruins is a nice attempt at brining epical sweet folk to routes that borderline with country and pop. I really love the power of the voices, is so magical and it gives a classical vibe to it. The album never falls short, however, I think I don't really know anything about these girls, like this sounds pretty good but without a solid statement, it just feels right when I'm not asking who is singing.

Fav tracks: "Rebel Heart", "Fireworks", "My Wild Sweet ... read more
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#17/PopMatters (Folk)

Track List

  1. Rebel Heart
  2. It's a Shame
  3. Fireworks
  4. Postcard
  5. To Live a Life
  6. My Wild Sweet Love
  7. Distant Star
  8. Ruins
  9. Hem of Her Dress
  10. Nothing Has to Be True
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Added on: October 27, 2017