Bizarro Swedes return with vox, drums, not much else
Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ 2008 debut Heartcore introduced an odd line-up: Mariam Wallentin indeed sings like a wild bird, but husband Andreas Werlin’s percussion is anything but peaceful. That they needed nothing else to get their songs across was impressive, and The Snake may not have the same sense of surprise, but it has not whiff of gimmickry either. With a volatile range and guttural tenor, Wallentin rumbles like Yma Sumac, growls like Nina Simone, and emotes like Kate Bush, as Werliin’s drums pulse menacingly behind her, pushing “Chain of Steel” to a desperate tempo while keeping “Great Lines” restrained. The duo adds subtle touches to the mix, including what sounds like either a harmonica or a didgeridoo on the windblown “So Soft So Pink.” At times The Snake sounds like a drum solo with vocals, but they make their limited line-up sound endlessly malleable, which is no small feat.