As the annual Eurovision circus once again rears its chirpy kitsch head, it is easy to reminisce about one of the contest's defining moments and a band, in Abba, which defined the pop music sound of a generation and, to some extent, characterised the sound of a nation.
In recent years, even the most blinkered will have come to realise that there is much more to Sweden than Ikea and Dancing Queen. In fact, there's been something of a cultural revolution for fans of all things Swedish. Quietly, stealthily, the Swedes have being showing much more of themselves, what with Stieg Larsson's books (and films), Henning Mankell's Wallander novels and TV shows (English and Swedish versions) along with a new outlet for Scandinavian drama on British television, such as current hit series The Bridge.
We've gone from joking about flat-pack furniture, Daim/Dime bars and Knowing Me Knowing You (A-Haaa) to wanting to be part of it. The moody landscapes, the beautiful people; the Swedish aesthetic. And then come along First Aid Kit, a pair of sisters from Stockholm called Johanna and Klara Söderberg. The duo produces evocative folk music of swirling, beguiling vocals and catchy hooks which conjure images of moody skies and sunlit corn and the bucolic woodiness of all the best folk. It is of the place and that place is Sweden. And we all want some.
Two albums in (the second, The Lion's Roar, was released in January) and the Söderberg's sound is developing an Americana twang which somehow fuels the mix further; rising above the quaint and parochial to become a worldly-wise aural tour-de-force. And it's coming here in the autumn.
The short tour begins at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on 20th November, followed by gigs at The Ritz in Manchester and Glasgow's QMU, before the final date at the Bristol Academy on 27th November 2012. We will have tickets available from 9am on Friday 11th May, priced £15 for London and £12.50 for all other dates.