For a voice and percussion duo, Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin create music with great texture and charm. It’s still pretty idiosyncratic–okay, very idiosyncratic–but you don’t listen to “My Heart” and think, “Geez, where are all the real instruments?” because Werliin does a beautiful, canny job finding not just beats but notes and motifs in a variety of things that are struck with a stick or a mallet. Wallentin in fact sounds like she’s being accompanied by a small, quizzical orchestra, not just a drummer.
The song’s many and varied structural and compositional and artistic quirks may well be why a listener’s ear is distracted from the basic instrumental peculiarity at the core of the duo’s sound. There’s the stop-start-y melody (I dare you to sing along for very long); the shifting rhythmic foundation (the same melody happens over drastically different percussive backgrounds at different points in the song); the art-song-meets-pop-song sense of development (note for example that odd, extended interstitial moment–beginning at 0:49–of being neither in verse nor chorus); and, payoff, the unexpected but brilliant choral finish.
“My Heart” is a song from The Snake, the band’s second album, which came out in Sweden in 2008 and was released earlier this year in the UK on the Leaf Label, and finally also in the US last month by the Control Group. MP3 via NME.