Monday, July 6, 2009

Album of the Week - Wildbirds & Peacedrums

The Snake
"Swedish husband-and-wife duo Wildbirds and Peacedrums are closer to Siouxsie and Budgie's Creatures than the White Stripes.
from Dave Simpsons review:

"These Swedes seem to pick anything up and play it. They'd probably even make beautiful music out of garden furniture. The giddy ride through tonal ups and downs, timbre switches, key changes can almost be too much to take, and if Wildbirds & Peacedrums were more than a duet, it almost certainly would feel excessive. Negotiating The Snake for the first time is a journey riddled with surprise – that almost nothing can be nailed down or predicted even after the seven-minutes-thirty of closer of 'My Heart' is pure 'lucky dip' stuff. Each time you dip in, you seem to come out with an even bigger handful of sweetness."
Luke Slater- Drowned in sound.

And Zoe Williams didn't quite get their name right in her review of Late Junction, Radio 3 (otherwise good point made!)

I do have a couple of free downloads, but they asked nicely not to re-distribute them.. I'm all up for artist wishes, so I won't post them.
(just for us in the 'spill to discuss.. have a dropbox listen)

What's your verdict?


Mnemonic said...

I haven't heard the album yet but I saw them live a few weeks ago with a 20-person drum circle. They're very impressive and I've got this on my wish list.

ejaydee said...

I was working my way into checking them out after hearing on the Guardian podcast. Thanks for this.

nilpferd said...

It doesn't really grab me musically.. seems a bit wan, somehow. From the last review- the Luke Slater one- I was expecting a bit more variety, but rhythmically it doesn't seem to really vary a huge amount from a sort of stomping march tempo, even if there are a variety of eclectic instruments used. Quite liked the Youtube clip, though. It's certainly just my conditioning, but I'm not able to hear the richness in this album I'd get from, say, a saxophone/drums duo like Coltrane/Ali. OK, I know that's not a fair comparison...

Shoey said...

I like the 1st album & this one a lot. How come the Suedes or Sweeds put out so much good pop? I think we should be told & I think Toffeboy should tell us.

DaddyPig said...

When I was a bachelor I listened to Late Junction a lot, just to hear this kind of unclassifiable thing. It would be perfect with the washing up around 11.30pm.

I also read most Zoe Williams articles - Friday's Guardian has RR, Zoe, and Harry Pearson in the Sport section. Thanks Shane.

Japanther said...

nice one Shane! This was on my wishlist too...exactly my cup of tea.

saneshane said...

I'm kind of in a seeing how this sounds as an album myself.
I had a few tracks that stand out enough on my pod.. then managed to pick up the vinyl the other day.. it sounds richer listening through on my stereo.

live would be good.. they come across well on the 'live' clips that I've seen.

I noticed they'd been on the podcast as well.. the name had been thrown about a bit.. thought we'd better judge for ourselves!

I had to put the post up in a rush.. I think the drowned in sound review gushes too much..
"a saxophone/drums duo like Coltrane/Ali. OK, I know that's not a fair comparison"
yeah.. even more to live up to.
I was thinking more the Aussie percussionists Big Pig and their album 'Bonk'!!!!!

Scandinavian pop discuss:
good subject and i like the fact that a lot have experimental elements to them.

Fridays paper is one day I do still try and read a lot of the articles.. as for up late (mostly listen again for me these days) or I'll be on RR or here.

glad to be of service.. enjoy.

nilpferd said...

Ha, Big Pig- I remember them.. god, that makes me feel old..

saneshane said...

that album only came out 22 years ago.. if we don't mention the years we lived before 1987.. it isn't so long!

snadfrod said...

Shane - I hadn't heard the name, but I've watched that video a few times now and its really oddly intoxicating, a bit hypnotic, a bit ADHD, a bit upper and downer. Like it a lot. I'm out of dropbox at the moment as it was murdering my monthly broadband limit, but I see its on spotify so will curl up with it as soon as. Ta.

DarceysDad said...

Ha! Snadfrod's description of the video will do for my reaction to the whole album.

I've listened to this album a lot today. Actually as a whole, it's too much for me, there are moments and songs that tip pleasingly quirky into irritatingly jerky.

But picking individual tracks to suit a mood DOES reveal some breathtaking beauty within.

So Soft, So Pink wouldn't be out of place on either the Arabesque compilation (familiar to some 'Spillers), or an Amiina EP. To achieve that breadth in one song is stunning.

Places has a great, great sense of rhythm for the first two minutes, but then just gives up on the momentum it had created, and leaves me with Mariam yelping rather than singing.

Dave Simpson's review used the word tribal, but Great Lines suffers for not playing that particular card anywhere near enough, and instead sounds like the demo of a songwriter unsure of whether to offer the song to the management of Peter Gabriel or Siouxsie Sioux.

But damnit, they pull out all the stops on the magnificent closer My Heart. If it wasn't for respecting Shane's passed-on request about not sharing it, THAT'S the song that would go on my Walkman.

So will I buy it? Given the parlous state of my finances at the moment, and impending albums from Richmond Fontaine, Patterson Hood, and particularly Jonsi & Alex, then almost certainly not. Plus I'm already contractually obliged to buy the Phenomenal Handclap Band LP.

Overall, you know what it made me think? A less-hippy Brightblack Morning Light. I'm still trying to work out for myself what sort of praise that is!!

A really intriguing pick, Shane.


ejaydee said...

And my copy of Phenomenal Handclap Band came in the mail today.

barbryn said...

I like this - the last track stands out on a first listen. Very Late Junction-y... I was getting very into listening to Late Junction recently - perfect for creating an atmosphere for writing in - but haven't been able to stay awake that late since baby #2.

DarceysDad said...

(i) What IS Late Junction?

(ii) How's it going with two, barbryn? I'm always intrigued to know how our experience relates to anyone else's in the same boat.

barbryn said...

i) Late Junction is one of the best justifications for the licence fee you'll ever hear. Radio 3, Tuesday to Thursday 11.15pm to 1am. It's probably the only place you'll come across Mongolian throat singing, followed by a 16th century madrigal, some electronica, Norwegian jazz, trad English folk, Americana and some unlikely crossover collaboration, possibly involving Bjork. Listening to it generally makes you feel very stoned, which feels particularly subversive as it's presented by very nicely spoken and terrifyingly knowledgable Radio 3 people.

ii) We're just about coping with two, although I'm only working half days at the moment. (I work from home anyway - I fear the work's going to suffer...) The nights haven't been too bad, but it's pretty much full-time from 7am till 10pm.

Innis, who's almost 2, has taken very well to having a baby sister, and keeps wanting to give her hugs and kisses (which only occasionally turn into pokes and just-a-little-too-hard squeezes). She pointed at a photo of Delphi just now and said "Baby, aahhh!"

The worrying thing is that newborns are quite low maintenance, so I'm aware this is the easy stage. Ask me again in 6 months...

DarceysDad said...

Thanks, barbryn. I'll try to have a listen to LJ this week.

Re your comment:
We're just about coping with two, although I'm only working half days at the moment. (I work from home anyway - I fear the work's going to suffer...) The nights haven't been too bad, but it's pretty much full-time from 7am till 10pm.
The worrying thing is that newborns are quite low maintenance, so I'm aware this is the easy stage.

Speaking as someone whose office is also at home, and whose girls are now 7 & 3, I'm almost reluctant to tell you that you are absolutely spot on.
Chez DsD, there is no longer any such thing as a full day's work in the 'office'. If I get left alone for school hours it's a miracle.

Continuing best wishes from us ...