10 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Wildbirds & Peacedrums is vocalist Mariam Wallentin and percussionist Andreas Werliin, a married Swedish couple making bold and remarkable music that falls somewhere between indie rock and experimental jazz. Wallentin may be the only scatting indie-rock vocalist on the horizon at the moment, and she does it with gusto and skill: her utterances pour forth as natural as spring water gushing from a well, surging and effervescent, in both bottom-diving lows and airy, near-whisper trills. Wallentin moans, yelps, and croons like a jazzy punk-art provocateur, but there is an odd serenity running through Snake, perhaps owing to the music’s tribal feel and trance-inducing power, or perhaps to Werliin’s dynamic, unadorned percussion, pulsing like a heartbeat. Mesmerizing, otherworldly tracks like “Island,” “Great Lines” and “Who Ho Ho Ho” are the delicate flip side to the combustive, edgy music that puts the duo in the upper echelons of any current art-punk genre that might exist: from the soulful blues of “Places” and “Today/Tomorrow” to the veiled pop of “Chain of Steel” and the haunting power of “There Is No Light,” The Snake is strikingly original.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Wildbirds & Peacedrums is vocalist Mariam Wallentin and percussionist Andreas Werliin, a married Swedish couple making bold and remarkable music that falls somewhere between indie rock and experimental jazz. Wallentin may be the only scatting indie-rock vocalist on the horizon at the moment, and she does it with gusto and skill: her utterances pour forth as natural as spring water gushing from a well, surging and effervescent, in both bottom-diving lows and airy, near-whisper trills. Wallentin moans, yelps, and croons like a jazzy punk-art provocateur, but there is an odd serenity running through Snake, perhaps owing to the music’s tribal feel and trance-inducing power, or perhaps to Werliin’s dynamic, unadorned percussion, pulsing like a heartbeat. Mesmerizing, otherworldly tracks like “Island,” “Great Lines” and “Who Ho Ho Ho” are the delicate flip side to the combustive, edgy music that puts the duo in the upper echelons of any current art-punk genre that might exist: from the soulful blues of “Places” and “Today/Tomorrow” to the veiled pop of “Chain of Steel” and the haunting power of “There Is No Light,” The Snake is strikingly original.

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About Wildbirds & Peacedrums

An almost unclassifiable mix of spare, bluesy vocals and powerful drumming -- with some pop and jazz elements mixed in for good measure -- Sweden's Wildbirds & Peacedrums feature singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin. The pair met in 2004 at Gothenburg's Academy of Music and Drama but, frustrated with the institute's rigid format, they began making music on their own the following year (and also got married). They released two limited-edition CD-Rs on their own before recording their full-fledged debut album, Heartcore, in 2006; it was released in 2007 by the Swedish label Found You. Leaf reissued the album internationally in spring 2008; that year, the band also toured with Lykke Li and was named that year's Jazz in Sweden artist. Wildbirds & Peacedrums's second album, Snake, arrived in 2008 on the Swedish jazz label Caprice. The album was released in the U.S. a year later. The duo embarked to Iceland to record two EPs within a week: Retina, which they made with cellist and arranger Hildur Guðnadóttir and the Schola Cantorum Reykjavík Chamber Choir, and Iris, which they recorded in Reykjavík’s Greenhouse studios. The EPs were given limited-edition releases in May and June of 2010; a few months later, they were combined as the album Rivers. After spending much of 2011 touring with the likes of St. Vincent, Deerhoof, and Konono No. 1, the duo began work on their fourth album late that year. Inspired by their busy touring schedule, Wallentin and Werliin stripped their music down to its most essential elements on Rhythm, which arrived in November 2014. ~ Heather Phares

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