Rhythm by Wildbirds & Peacedrums
Formats: CD (BAY 94CD) Limited vinyl LP + CD (BAY 94V) Digital (BAY 94E)
Release Date: 3 November 2014
“We decided this should be our ‘going back to our roots’ album. Which is drums and vocals. Except for a bass line here and there, that is what it is. Drums and voice. Rhythms. We wanted the record to sound as intense as our live shows, and as chaotic as the world around us.”
Wildbirds & Peacedrums return with their first record in four years; lean, hungry and defiant. In stripping back they have discovered an unblinking directness, a taut muscularity honed from years of intensive live performance. Wildbirds & Peacedrums have turned the screw.
Rhythm is the work of husband and wife duo Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin. It is their unflinching vision. No other ears. No other fingerprints. Written, recorded and produced by the pair in their Stockholm studio. There is an unshakeable confidence in its execution, which could only be achieved by working in this way. Proof that intuitive and primal interplay between voice and drums still has the power to leave you breathless. “Sound-wise we wanted it to feel like a live experience,” Andreas explains. “Almost every song is one take. We recorded standing in the same room, no screens or isolation, looking each other in the eyes."In their own space, on their own time, Rhythm’s gestation was longer than previous Wildbirds’ albums. With no outside influences there is a certain element of cabin fever evident in the songwriting. Never one to censor herself, Mariam’s lack of inhibition is magnified in this context. Wordless invocations and desperate mantras hint at the frustrations inherent in such an intense creative relationship. There is a constant internal dialogue, the lyrics and delivery veering from a lucid menacing swagger to self-doubt and introversion. “This is an album that explores the mental,” Mariam expands. “When you don’t know what is real or just happening inside of your head; when you’re breaking the boundaries between the physical realness that is the day-to-day life and the imagination. It’s about slipping and going too far and going out of your mind.”
While the drums and vocal template is timeless in itself and central to the band’s vision, Wildbirds have started to take their cues from tropicalia, punk and notably from contemporary R&B. This is particularly evident in the economical drive of opening one-two ‘Ghosts & Pains’ and ‘The Offbeat’, and the neo-gospel of ‘Soft Wind, Soft Death’. The latter marks Rhythm’s centrepiece, the moment the tension releases. The vocals no longer going blow for blow with the drums, instead rising above, moving over the clatter in waves, finding peace in a space of their own.
Over the course of three acclaimed albums - Heartcore (2008), The Snake (2009) and Rivers (2010) - Wildbirds & Peacedrums have established themselves as a powerful, single-minded proposition. In the time between the Rivers and Rhythm, Mariam and Andreas have been involved in an impressive range of projects and collaborations. Wallentin released her first solo album as Mariam The Believer and starred in Ben Frost’s celebrated Wasp Factory opera. Werliin has been working as a producer and performing with Fire! and the Swedish Grammy-winning Tonbruket. It is this relentless creativity that drives Wildbirds & Peacedrums, the desire to push themselves is evident in everything they do.