Wildbirds & Peacedrums is Swedish husband-wife duo, Andreas Werliin and Mariam Wallentin. Rhythm is the group’s fourth full-lengther, and a fair summary of how these songs have been built, mostly just drums and voice to announce each song, a mood then enhanced with a thin trace of synth bassline or gentle orchestration around the main rhythmic impetus.
Wallentin is part jazz/blues-singer, a bit of husk – then she’ll hit out in a way similar to those voices we know from Kosheen or Moloko. There’s touches of Goldfrapp and Bjork in this sound too, and it’s a bit like listening to a version of The Ting Tings when (if?) they’re all grows’d up.
There’s some similarity, palette-wise, to Neneh Cherry’s recent comeback, and the material has the same sort of urgency in the feel and sound, in the emotion that’s captured.
The drums are there – omnipresent, ever present, always. They drive these songs – songs that are stripped back to all they need. Werliin adding in jazz snare flourishes, bells and percussive tricks and ticks alongside huge military stomps.
It’s a huge sound sometimes, but there’s also a brittleness – given the form. And that’s where the vulnerability is expressed. Even when the drums are big and bold there’s something tightrope-like about the way it’s essentially just one voice to sell the mood and flow and feel over drums. That’s it.
They’ve managed the job almost perfectly here. The album is trim, taut, no filler – filled with thrills in fact.