• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Jan 19, 2018
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Buy On
  1. Jan 23, 2018
    91
    It’s the last three songs that push an already arresting album to the next level.
  2. 85
    It’s a classic high-quality, well-arranged and passionate album from First Aid Kit, but this time--it’s not so innocent.
  3. Magnet
    Apr 17, 2018
    80
    When they open up and truly let go, they achieve states of near euphoria and joyous magnificence. [No. 150, p.56]
  4. Feb 1, 2018
    80
    Wherever you listen, Ruins pairs tough truths and tender melodies with tremendous expressive punch, from the piercing self-investigations of the title-track to Hem Of Her Dress, where heartache and rage merge with raucous honesty. Meanwhile, Nothing Has To Be True hews beauty from transformative circumstance.
  5. Jan 22, 2018
    80
    The new album’s particular saving grace is its self-loathing streak, the sense that scales have fallen from eyes and that Stay Gold’s nebulous disaffection has soured to regret.
  6. Jan 19, 2018
    80
    There’s much to be said for the familiar, when it’s delivered with such grace.
  7. Jan 18, 2018
    80
    Ruins is never complacent, though, keeping its rough, rustic edges, and allowing for the sounds of fingers on frets on quieter tunes like "To Live a Life." Lyrics don't put on a false front, either, and that's ultimately what makes the album linger.
  8. Jan 18, 2018
    80
    The album has a bruised but tough essence, which comes across in 10 elegantly tailored songs detailing a disintegrating relationship.
  9. Jan 17, 2018
    80
    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.
  10. 80
    Ruins might see the band playing it safe, but rarely are safety manuals this stunning.
  11. Jan 12, 2018
    80
    Lyrically and sonically, Ruins helps First Aid Kit gives listeners a mature, realized and often heartbreaking version of this young band's oeuvre.
  12. Mojo
    Jan 9, 2018
    80
    There is pain here. The results, though, are delicious. [Feb 2018, p.97]
  13. Q Magazine
    Jan 9, 2018
    80
    The results are ferociously good. [Feb 2018, p.106]
  14. Jan 19, 2018
    75
    It’s a very familiar take on Americana, full of heartbreak and yearning, but a damn reliable one.
  15. Jan 19, 2018
    75
    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.
  16. Jan 19, 2018
    70
    This is just another good First Aid Kit album, one that suggests their peak hasn’t yet been reached.
  17. 70
    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.
  18. Jan 18, 2018
    70
    At times, the musical ornamentation feels too much. But when those two voices combine, it all falls away.
  19. Uncut
    Jan 9, 2018
    70
    For now Ruins keeps First Aid Kit moving forward, empowered rather than overcome by the wrath of love. [Feb 2018, p.25]
  20. Jan 9, 2018
    70
    The album's lyrics are full of heartbreak and dashed dreams, so perhaps it was the Söderbergs' fragile state of mind that inspired them to venture tentatively out of their comfort zone.
  21. 67
    While not their best, Ruins certainly stands as First Aid Kit’s most cohesive album, focused on the determination of moving forward from heartbreak.
  22. Jan 19, 2018
    64
    Their voices complement each other so naturally and so gracefully that it’s easy to forget how much craft there is in these songs, and how much ingenuity they put into their vocals.
  23. Feb 14, 2018
    60
    Ruins is an affecting, comforting listen, but not one that will imprint itself too vividly in the memory.
  24. Jan 22, 2018
    60
    The album’s second half glides hazily by, never actually disappointing, but maintaining a mid-tempo pensiveness that is a little too comforting for comfort.
  25. Jan 19, 2018
    60
    Ruins is a thoroughly pretty piece of work, lovingly presented. 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.
  26. 60
    It’s tough stuff, tempered by the Soderbergs’ instinctive harmonies, which remain as sweet as ever, and the inventive folk-rock arrangements textured with typical empathy by producer Tucker Martine, involving members of R.E.M., Midlake and Wilco.
  27. 50
    Ruins isn’t a bad record, or a weak one, it’s a boring one.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Feb 8, 2018
    10
    Phenomenal album from the Soderberg sisters. They tap even further into the classic country influences that have always permeated theirPhenomenal album from the Soderberg sisters. They tap even further into the classic country influences that have always permeated their records. This sound that is "more country" than their previous albums is the perfect backdrop for the heartbreaking lyrics of Ruins. Ruins is an album about being crumbled to pieces in the wake of the end of a long-term relationship. This album almost takes you through the "stages of grief" with songs like "Fireworks" that highlights longing and reminiscing and songs like "Hem of Her Dress" that offers an angrier point of view as to why and how a relationship might crumble.

    With Ruins, First Aid Kit built a tragic album that, though it may be a bit depressing at times, sounds amazing and taps into all of the emotions that surround the end of something you thought would last longer than it did.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 20, 2018
    6
    Being a First Aid Kit record, "Ruins" has, as expected, gorgeous vocals throughout, and a general pleasant easy-listening quality to it.Being a First Aid Kit record, "Ruins" has, as expected, gorgeous vocals throughout, and a general pleasant easy-listening quality to it. However, as an album, it is easily their most inconsistent yet.
    The first half is pretty great. "Rebel Heart" is a really good start to the album as it showcases the vocal ability of the Söderberg sisters on the forefront, with minimal instrumentation except for a great instrumental break towards the end. Then we get the three amazing singles "It's A Shame", "Fireworks" and "Postcard", all of them which are great and catchy for their own reasons (Especially "Fireworks", possibly one of the best ballads the duo ever produced). Closing the first half, we find the grower "To Live a Life", a devastating song about learning to live alone and the hopes of solitude being just a dream, it starts off unassuming and bursts into full catharsis towards the end.
    But then the second half kicks in, and it just flies by leaving no impression whatsoever. The most memorable song on this side of the record, "Hem of Her Dress", is easily the worst son on the album, playing off like an unfinished song that was added a cheesy and very annoying "LALALA" chant at the end to give it closure. It's also important to mention that this song follows the very quiet title track, so the transition is very awkward. The closing track, "Nothing Has to Be True" is very sleepy, and for some reason, it has a cacophonous drone at the end so as to trick the listener to think FAK is trying new things and experimenting, but it just comes out as obvious.
    Overall, this project is fine, with great songs to elevate some okay ones. FAK has made another album with the kind of music everyone can enjoy passively.
    Full Review »
  3. May 13, 2018
    9
    First Aid Kit released 'Ruins', a confident collection of indie-pop songs that call upon the girl's beautiful song-writing abilities withoutFirst Aid Kit released 'Ruins', a confident collection of indie-pop songs that call upon the girl's beautiful song-writing abilities without drowning in their influences. Full Review »