233

Wildbirds and Peacedrums: Rivers

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Rivers is beautiful; haunting, evocative, dreamlike, sad, confusing, scary and bewildering, it's a truly original work.

Wildbirds and Peacedrums is a Swedish husband and wife team: percussionist Andreas Werliin and singer and composer Mariam Wallentin. Werliin is also the drummer with Dan Berglund's Tonbruket, while Wallentin has been compared to Nina Simone, although on this album she more closely resembles European singers such as Paula Rae Gibson or Propaganda's Claudia Brücken.

Rivers, the band's third album, was recorded over four days in January 2010 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The two CDs were originally released as two separate vinyl EPs—Retina and Iris (Leaf, 2010). Although both were recorded within this short time period, each has its own distinct sound and feel.

The Retina tunes are characterized by the magnificent sound of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, which has an ethereal, other-worldly sound, acting as a perfect complement to Wallentin's vocal. "Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood" exemplifies the sound: Wallentin's voice is pure and intensely emotional, while Werliin's percussion punctuates the tune, giving it a rhythmic centre while ensuring that his playing doesn't detract from the wordless choral vocal that is so crucial to the song's atmosphere.

"Under Land and Over Sea" is another song with a standout vocal performance from Wallentin, underpinned by the Chamber Choir without Werliin's percussion. The emotional intensity of the performance is immediately affecting—each word is sung as if Wallentin's life depended on it. On "Fight For Me," Werliin returns, his percussion to the fore, while both Wallentin and the choir deliver a strangely threatening and disturbing lyric.

On the Iris tracks, the sound is stripped back and percussion—including the rich sound of the steel pan—dominates. Wallentin's voice becomes more soulful and less tormented, while the songs themselves are more straightforward in construction. Less innovative than Retina, Iris is more readily accessible. All five songs have a lightness to their musical structure, while "The Drop" and "The Lake" are both lyrically intriguing.

This is one of the most original, affecting and intense albums to emerge from the contemporary European music scene. At times disquieting and complex, at others sweet and simple, the songs have a timeless quality and, in Wallentin, the band has one of the most distinctive singers around. Rivers is beautiful.

Track Listing: CD1(Retina): Bleed Like There Was No Other Flood; Tiny Holes in this World; Under Land and Over Sea; Fight For Me; Peeling Off the Layers. CD2 (Iris): The Wave; The Drop; The Course; The Lake; The Well.

Personnel: Andreas Werliin: drums, percussion; Mariam Wallentin: vocals, steelpan, organ bass pedal; Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir: vocals (CD1).

Title: Rivers | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: The Leaf Label


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Donora Autumn" CD/LP/Track Review Donora Autumn
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "The Big Beat" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Beat
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Port Bou" CD/LP/Track Review Port Bou
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.