Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Jaime Rojo | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Jaime Rojo 

When: Tue., June 7, 9:30 p.m. 2011
Price: $10
Austere Swedish experimental pop duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums, aka singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin, added new colors to their minimal sound on last year's excellent Rivers (Control Group), a repackaging of two European EPs (Retina and Iris) recorded in a single week in Reykjavik, Iceland, with Ben Frost. Retina's five tracks feature heavenly arrangements by cellist Hildur Gudnadottir for the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, a group that had previously flirted with pop for Bjork's Medulla; their wordless countermelodies and misty harmonies float around Wallentin's beautiful, aspirated cry. On the Iris half of the album, Wallentin shadows her own vocal melodies with sparse steel-drum patterns, and besides Werliin's percussion there's almost nothing else in the songs—fortunately, that's all they need. Wallentin's writing reveals her jazz roots, and while the group's songs are packed with unexpected details—curlicues, swoops, sophisticated rhythms, elaborate harmonies—they still hit with the immediate force of pop music. Rivers is Wildbirds & Peacedrums' best release yet, and the power and charisma they bring to the stage is even better—I can't wait till they can capture all of it in the studio. —Peter Margasak

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