WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS: Heartcore (The Leaf Label)


Posted on Apr 2nd 2008 12:31 am

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Wildbirds & Peacedrums: Heartcore

Found You Recordings/The Leaf Label 2008
12 Tracks. 40mins50secs

Like a less exuberant Creatures, singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin piece together a surprisingly compelling collection of visceral vocal-and-percussion-based songs which find their feet somewhere between free jazz, afro beat and Nordic tribal tradition.

Formed in 2004 after Mariam and Andreas met at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothemberg, Wildbirds & Peacedrums began performing live a year later, and, after publishing two limited edition CDR albums, started working on Heatcore in 2006, using a mobile studio, which allowed them to record in a variety of locations and use a wide range of sonorities to support their rudimentary formation. The album was originally published last year on Swedish label Found You Recordings, and now finally gets a well deserved worldwide release, just as they are gearing up for the release of their sophomore effort, The Snake, in their native land.

The album opens with the sound of a microphone rubbing against something undefined. A somewhat insignificant noise defect which actually highlights, right from the start, the raw nature of the record, and if the song that follows, Pony, relies on very little more than a zither and Wallentin’s voice, there is an undeniable fragility and urgency which transpires through the rarefied atmosphere of the piece. Urgency is the fuel of this record, characterised equally through primal moments and through more introvert pieces.

The raw nature of Wildbirds & Peacedrums is perhaps best captured on the dense and tortured Bird. Here, the melody appears largely freeform and improvised, running over a primal drum sequence like a wild torrent over a bed of rocks, finding its way with increasing difficulty as Werliin’s drumming becomes livelier. In contrast, the following track, I Can’t Tell In His Eyes, shows incredible restraint and beautiful musicality. Here, and on The Battle Of Water later on, the sound is at its most ambitious and accomplished, the latter song featuring a piano and additional vocals by Andreas, and reveals an element of pop influences in the band’s work.

The introvert aspect of the pair’s music is best reflected in the extremely delicate A Story From A Chair, Lost Love and Nakina. On the former, Mariam hangs crystal clear vocal droplets over a light backdrop of glockenspiel, while on Lost Love, Werliin’s percussive interjections become even more minimal as the voice comes into focus more prominently. Nakina is built around a steady drum thump, sounding surprisingly like an over-sized clock, which serves as sole setting for Wallentin to build upon. As the song builds up, duplicates of her voice appear to eventually harmonise toward the end

In between these are songs like The Way Things Go, Doubt/Hope or The Ones That Should Save Me Get Me Down which, while not reaching the incandescent heights of Bird, are still examples of the primitive fire that inhabit the work of the band.

It is difficult to find clear relations or influences to Wildbirds & Peacedrums. Of course, traces of jazz, rock, pop and folk can be found scattered all over these twelve songs, but it is tricky to pinpoint exactly how these affect and inform the music. This is undoubtedly part of the attraction here, as Wallentin and Werliin craft one of the most original records heard on Leaf since Asa-Chang & Junray’s magnificent Jun Ray Song Chang.


Icon: arrow Wildbirds & Peacedrums | The Leaf Label
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2 Responses to “WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS: Heartcore (The Leaf Label)”

  1. […] have developed quite a unique take on experimental pop music in the two years since their debut, Heatcore, was released. At once tribal and visceral on one side, and deeply emotional and oddly cinematic on […]

  2. […] just two albums, the brilliant debut Heatcore and its follow up, The Snake, published in as many years, vocalist Mariam Wallentin and drummer and […]