Travel is a strange thing. It is considered something that broadens your horizons, immerses you in culture and leaves you richer and fuller as a person. For Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, known as First Aid Kit, travel became an inevitably after the runaway success of an early cover posted back in 2008. Their notoriety and acclaim grew momentously and they got to tour the globe, a dream of many early 20-somethings. However, the weighted commitments and relentlessness of their lifestyle burnt the pair out to the point of absolution.

Klara returned to her home in Manchester just in time for a relationship to her then-fiancée to crumble in front of her. In a grieving state, the young songwriter headed back out to meet her sister in LA and channeled her experiences into Ruins, an album of sorrow masked in sunshine. The opener ‘Rebel Heart’ is particularly cathartic, the younger sister moves between mourning and metaphor as she addresses her past while considering the coming weather. The opening bridge to the chorus feels far more hopelessly human as the duo wail ‘why do I keep dreaming of you?’.

Klara has spoken candidly about her difficult relationship with Los Angeles, where the majority of Ruins was written and recorded. Early single ‘It’s A Shame’ exemplifies the inner turmoil of feeling alone and miserable when the sun is “just always in your face” as she eloquently stated in a recent interview. The jovial Americana beat conjures visions of endless blue skies and balmy summer afternoons yet the subject matter and lyrical honesty counteract the sunny disposition.

Elsewhere the pair plumb new levels of emotion. Their past record was shrouded in gorgeous metaphor, ‘ show me my silver lining’, ‘oh I wish, for once, we could stay gold’. Here both sisters have matured, learnt to express themselves without protection, ‘To Live a Life’ has little more than a single string pluck to veil the sadness running through ‘’there’s no other way to live a life alone, I’m alone now’’. ‘Distant Star’ is also painfully confessional, Tucker Martine’s producing making its final minute as dramatic and changeable as a fraught relationship. Meanwhile the sweeping, soaring ‘My Wild Sweet Love’ feels sonically like a continuation of the spirited ‘My Silver Lining’ and alleviates some of the album’s sadness.

The Swedish sisters have always had skill in transporting you to location through their sincere storytelling, whether it be the leafy streets of ‘Cedar Lane’ to the undefinable sadness of ‘New Year’s Eve’. On ‘Fireworks’ they succeed like never before, as we sit heavy chested alongside Klara in her bedroom looking out into the night sky for signs of a lost love. It has a longing, its hopelessly romantic and easily the most affecting piece of music the pair has released to date.

If this album were a breakup, the closer ‘Nothing Has To Be True’ is the quiet solitude after the screaming, swearing and anger has gone and your body aches from an exertion of energy. Its lyrics are purely confessional rather than adhering to traditional pop/folk structures. As Klara sadly sings ‘I thought you were home’ and the percussion breaks, this is First Aid Kit at their most overwhelming. Travel is a strange thing, many do it to escape, start over, to reinvent themselves. For this pair, they have had to negotiate relationships and emotions whilst being tied to the road and it has left Ruins swelling with passion and anguish. The heart may be heavy but, fortunately, there are two to carry it.