An office favourite and the promo has only been in the place a week. It has since disappeared into various homes for night listening which is as good a recommendation as you can get. Therefore I'm the wrong person to write the press blurb as I was the only one to spit the words "experimental Winehouse" in it's direction. It certainly sounds like the career defining record that the press release talks about, based around the primal rhythms and soulful vocals of the Swedish husband and wife team it hold no punches whatsoever. Certainly fans of Neneh Cherry's last album, or the 80's pounding of Pigbag or ESG are going to find much to enjoy.
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This promo's been causing waves all around the office, to the point where I'm already being hassled to return the promo I'm reviewing so that other people can listen to it. It's been four years since Wildbirds & Peacedrums have released an album so you can be forgiven for not knowing who they are - which is the husband-and-wife duo of percussionist Andreas Werliin (who has had his hands full in the meantime with his other project FIRE! with Mats Gustafsson and Johan Berthling, and of course its offshoot FIRE! Orchestra) and vocalist Mariam Wallentin (who's been busy herself, putting out a solo album as Mariam the Believer last year).
Wallentin has a right old set of pipes on her, likely to draw comparison to Neneh Cherry (although whoever wrote the item description said "experimental Winehouse") and although the majority of the tracks on 'Rhythm' contain no further instrumentation they possess a soulful tribalistic propulsiveness with both members really committing to each track with palpable vigour and focus. Werliin's dense rhythmic work does an excellent job of propping everything up in a ritualistic whirlwind of tight grooves and splashing cymbals, but on tracks where some kind of second melodic feature is introduced things really pop into focus. The strutting 'The Unreal vs The Real' throws in a few subtle synth throbs (plausibly trigged by drum pads) and backing vocals, as does the sensuously thrusting 'Gold Digger', but even when it's just beats and solitary vocals this pair put together an uplifting and mind-boggling sound.
It's the kind idiosyncratic and unrestrained record you'll probably either get obsessed with or instantly dislike.
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- Rhythm by Wildbirds & Peacedrums
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