There’s not a whole lot of music to Wildbirds & Peacedrums, most of their songs are stripped down to a spare, wooden drum and some alternating synth plunks – but they’re always centered on one specific thing – Mariam Wallentin’s husky, near-shamanistic voice. The Gothenberg husband’n’wife duo maintain a strikingly distinct sound, especially considering they’ve only been active since 2006. Their latest long-player Rivers is naturally a sparse, dense work of mystical, naturalistic sounds and shining, almost pre-natalic textures.
Wildbirds & Peacedrums have been dubbed with the blanket, reductive term ‘experimental’ music, but like fellow avant-age heroes Dirty Projectors, there’s a fair amount of pop in their DNA. The noises on Rivers, while off-beat, are more or less pleasurable, not testing the listener – instead introducing them, guiding down the increasingly sealed-off world the record builds for itself. Sometimes they mutate island-y tropicala flavors into a bare bones Beach House-like saunter, sometimes they break everything down into whispery would-be-post punk, sometimes Mariam is singing over nothing but a distant, distant, distant chorale wail. But whatever they’re doing, they’re always breaking down. Wildbirds & Peacedrums find their inspiration from what’s not there – playing just enough sounds to constitute a song, in my book that’s a hefty achievement.