Album Review: The Snake – Wildbirds and Peacedrums

by Kali McLevy

Label: The Control Group
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Wildbirds and Peacedrums is Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin, a singer and drummer two-piece out of Sweden whose experimental nature and creative manner make them the prefect “cup o’ tea” for any avant-garde music fan.
Rather than ease their way into the musician’s pool after the success of their first album, the band canon-balled right into the deep end with their latest release, The Snake. With it they seem to fully understand that their musical talent is blatantly obvious and it’s artfulness is not something to be taken lightly.
Wildbirds and Peacedrums released their debut album, Heartcore, in May of 2008. Heartcore was deceiving in regards to the undeniable power and technique of this Swedish duo. But it was also tenacious in letting you know what you were in for, resulting in the band winning the prized Jazz in Sweden 2008 award. While Heartcore’s instrumentation was limited to the simplicity of the vocals and percussion, The Snake incorporates instruments such as the flute, xylophone and other-worldly sounds, but still maintains the focal points of Mariam’s elastic vocals and Andreas’ simple but essential drum beats.
The Snake’s first song, ‘The Island,’ assures the listener that they haven’t forsaken their roots. The strong, eerie presence of Wallentin’s voice chants in a tongue-like fashion about a man who swims to Iceland under a canopy of rainbows. On to ‘Chains of Steel,’ where she attempts to free herself from her female antagonist’s grasp, all the while keeping the listener under the mind-clouding spell of her ever-so emotional and flexible vocals.
Wildbirds and Peacedrums’ improvisational abilities in both their music and lyrics continue to linger on the mind. Even if the first impression doesn’t wow you, you find yourself popping this album into your stereo by instinct alone. The album wraps up on more of a catchy and pop-inspired note with ‘My Heart.’ The beginning drum beat sets the mood and grabs your attention, while Wallentin’s angelic wailing of the chorus line sends an obliterating gust of air from your lungs, singing out loud with her. The lyrics “’cause you see I’m lost without your rhythm” grabs you by your heartstrings and you can’t help but contemplate Wallentin’s literal meaning behind those words. Maybe towards her fellow band mate and husband, Wildbirds drummer, Andreas Werliin.
Such a reputable track record this early in the game is not something that every band or musician gets to experience, but it is without question that Wildbirds and Peacedrums deserve all the accolades coming their way. The apparent concentration and narrowing down of Wildbirds and Peacedrums’ skills on this album have made them one of the most distinguished musicians of 2009.

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april, 2022

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