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Posts Tagged ‘Wildbirds & Peacedrums’

Wildbirds & Peacedrums – The Snake, 2009

“impressive, and unexpected, range of influences and instruments, The Snake is a sprawling, orchestral experience”

Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ new album, The Snake, is the second album from husband and wife Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin. Filled with an impressive, and unexpected, range of influences and instruments, The Snake is a sprawling, orchestral experience.

Marketed as “Jazz” music, I was pleased by the R&B intros, gospel vocals, and afro-beats found in songs like ‘Chain of Steel’, ‘Places’ and ‘Today/Tomorrow’, reminding me of My Brightest Diamond or M.I.A. Meanwhile, songs such as ‘Island’, ‘Great Lines’, and ‘There Is No Light’, open up the album to something altogether more spacious and primal. Like Bjork meets the White Stripes.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Photograph by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Photograph by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Vocalist Wallentin deftly mixes impassioned vocals, chants, scats and calls to create mood and texture, at times only with her breath. For example, on the intro to ‘So Soft, So Pink’ she becomes a human didgeridoo before her angelic siren vocal hangs itself over a snare drum beat, eventually breaking down into a soaring, dreamy and abrupt conclusion.

The Snake, however, is really a highlight of percussion. Employing a standard drum kit along with xylophones, symbols, hand percussion, steel drums and more, Werliin steers the songs in every direction by altering with the tempo. Moving from slow, driving marches into rapid-fire and crashing punctuations, he keeps you on edge for the next turn without dominating, but rather accentuating the vocals.

As a listener with an affinity for the album format, I appreciate the way The Snake slowly winds its way through unexpected genres, never settling down for long in one place and never repeating itself.

Give the track Today/Tomorrow a listen.

Chris Huffman is an interactive designer and art director. He collects maps and swag, loves all things melodic. He’s the principal at huffmaninteractive.com.