Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Rhythm
Founded on a primal combination of vocals and percussion yet full of imaginative arrangements and production twists, Swedish duo Wildbirds and Peacedrums’ fourth LP pulls both forward and back, sounding simultaneously ancient and thrillingly modern. It follows four years spent separately pursuing other projects, and makes an explicit recommitment to the restricted (but, in their hands, never restricting) drums and voice framework that made earlier works like The Snake so beguiling.
Opener Ghosts and Pains instantly exhibits both partners’ strengths: as Andreas Werlin builds rhythms from soft shakers and hollow echoes, Mariam Wallentin delivers a soulful vocal that glides up and down octaves, augmented by loops and layering. Other tracks take more time to reveal themselves, and this furtiveness occasionally threatens to douse Rhythm’s fireworks in a low dose of monotony. But excellence elsewhere counteracts the odd slump, with highlights ranging from Mind Blues’ curious clangs to Soft Wind, Soft Death’s jittery gospel. [Chris Buckle]