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Wildbirds and Peacedrums: Heartcore

Wildbirds and Peacedrums: Heartcore

Release Date:2008

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 6/4/2008

This Swedish duo's stage name almost says it all: Wife/singer Mariam Wallentin murmurs, gurgles, and wails while husband/drummer Andreas Werliin faithfully keeps time or brings some stick-crackin' ruckus. Debut Heartcore ping-pongs between and sometimes collides two extremes: primordial Hanne Hukkelberg goo and unhinged P.J. Harvey napalm.

Reverberating acoustic plucks ring like gentle gunshots on "Pony," evolving into a loosely knotted melody that Wallentin uses to swing her bold, bluesy belt around. Lightly treading drumbeats and tingly, ringing guitar mists set the stage for quilted "I Can't Tell in His Eyes," a placid oceanic-pop swell she surfs like a bobbing Björk buoy. Squeezing English consonants until they're all but unrecognizable, Wallentin extrapolates futures from a single terse moment between lovers: "Look at them/ They spend their summers reading and rotting/ Watching their kids and cat grow fat."

But Heartcore's at the top of its game when Wildbirds and Peacedrums adhere to a strict voice/percussion template, exploiting that setup's possibilities. See Wallentin scatting madly over Werliin's mysterious junkyard percussion and ear-busting bass drum on "The Window" or coolly catwalking through his unfaltering metronomic stomps on "Nakina." Better yet, get a load of "Doubt/Hope," where the pair make its most airtight case for your continued patronage and affection. Werliin goes whirlwind, kicking up a drum-clinic avalanche that dominates the sonic space--smarting skin whacks, vicious cymbal crashes, Byzantine puttering runs--while Wallentin adroitly zig-zags from ditch-level registers to stratospheric ones, hands clapping out a frantic bonus beat, all to express how difficult it is to quit biting her fingernails.

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