Swedish drum and vocals, husband and wife duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums play songs with a haunting, ethereal glow, and their sophomore album The Snake moves with an unpredictable flow that grips and snakes like its namesake, a subtle, sly slithering beauty. Perhaps it's something in the air of Sweden that allows it to create so many talented, unexpectedly wonderful musicians. If it is, then we have to appreciate and celebrate its magic, because this is, without a doubt, magic. Magic in silver air and ice trails, in blooming bruised roses and its fluid motions and sounds. This is escapism in wavering, at times minimalistic, at times incredibly full, lush and erratic songs.
"Island" opens the album with a deliberate, enchanted soundscape that shifts into the urgent, frantic, animalistic (or Animal Collective-sque) pounding cry in the darkness, the drums a panicked heartbeat underneath the somehow still contained vocals of "There Is No Light". "Chain of Steel" is a playful, yet dark chase, a quirky delightful dance that escalate to an expressive dark chorus and resolution. "Places" is a determined anthem, a pop song structured like few others, cries and a rhythm driving a pressing point of loss and something, that urgency of something happening.
Then "Liar Lion," which shakes with a hard to pinpoint quirk, a jagged streak in what is in essence an unusual pop song, a mesmerizing melody that jangles until the chorus becomes infused in your mind, and the layers of sounds and drums and the step innate in the song transfer to the unsuspecting listener, then shifting to a light teasing of each sound, an against all odds catchy and a joy to discover sort of song that sticks. "Who Ho Ho Ho" shifts to a minimalistic, suggestive bare story, plucked sounds and whispers with the slightly hint of unease behind it all. Until finally the album ends with "My Heart," a fitting tribute to the one beat that keeps us alive, a bright, engaging ode to the rhythm itself.
This part Dirty Projectors, part Lykke Li, part shape shifting and unpredictable duo has created something remarkable in this album, a fluid ability to transform and just flutter out of reach of expectations. Instead this is anticipation and the tease, the chase and a suggestive dance with the beat and the rhythm and songs with a heart--at times cold, at times brittle, at times so alive heart. -Laura Yan