Access to a wide variety of musicians and bands has recently become widespread with the proliferation of the Internet. Though this gives inquisitive music lovers vast seas of artists to explore, this also presents the predicament of originality. Like any other art, only so many ideas can be looked at from so many points of view before they begin to blend together. It is difficult to find a sound that is original and surprising without being on the fringes of what is acceptable as music. However, Wildbirds and Peacedrums deliver just that—a unique listening experience while retaining an essential rhythm and harmony.
Putting Wildbirds & Peacedrums into a genre is almost impossible. Though many suggestions have been put on the table, ranging from psych folk to straightforward experimental, their music refuses to be placed in a box. Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin, a husband and wife duo from Sweden, are the band’s only members. It is interesting that this band’s unique sound consists of mere drums and vocals, which Mariam considers her “instrument.”
The Snake is the band’s second album and it does not disappointment. The combination of Andreas’s spirited percussion with Mariam’s earthy vocals conjures an image of the mundane world, but colored with the most basic of emotions and instincts. There is something very primal about the music of Wildbirds & Peacedrums.
Mariam’s vocal work is very natural, to the point where sometimes she is simply making sounds rather than singing lyrics, much like a deeper toned Bjork. Andreas’s basic but somehow overwhelming drumming makes up for the lack of instruments accompanying his wife’s voice.
These two elements are best united in the track “There is No Light,” which is perhaps the best track on the entire album. Andreas’s drums are the only literal instrument used and the remainder is dominated by Mariam’s voice, which is almost guttural in nature. It is difficult to imagine such a thing to be pleasant but the pair does not only succeed. “There is No Light” evokes an overwhelming feeling of movement. It makes you want to dance, but more in a primitive jumping and undulating sense. This atmosphere is all created through smart drumming, primal voice, and raw lyrics about failure and triumph. In short, this is a very powerful track.
The album is perfectly structured for the attention span of an average listener. The first track is mysterious, haunting, and a hook in every sense of the word. There is a balance between shorter and lengthier songs. Every track on The Snake has its own individuality. The innovation that they use to give each track its own stand-alone sound with only two mediums of sound is interesting enough, without considering the quality of each track itself.
Almost every track on The Snake seems to overwhelm the listener with one emotion or another, conveyed more through rhythm and sound than through the lyrics themselves. It is definitely an album that can be listened to more than once without boredom entering the picture. Those who are new to Wildbirds & Peacedrums will receive an open armed welcome into this sweet, emotional, and, at its core, primordial world that The Snake creates.