Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 24/02/2014 | Mariam The Believer – Privatclub, Berlin

24/02/2014 | Mariam The Believer – Privatclub, Berlin

Lisa Ward


One half of Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Mariam Wallentin has set out alone. Where the duo seem to focus on more light, bouncy sounds, the solo project reaches to darker places, more gloomy in its offering especially when performed live. Tonight she opens with the title track of her album, Blood Donation,  which begins as a more scratchy number before opening itself up to slightly more pop tones with darker lyrics. Her vocals convey a sense of begging, a style which carries the set.

The String of Everything has a more spiritual sound and as she sings ‘don’t we want to learn something more, reach somewhere new and die someone else’ it clashes with the assurance of her name, forcing questioning. Likewise Somewhere Else offers the same begging questioning, this time laying the vocals over almost jagged guitar melodies. Above The World loses some of the rough instrumentation of the album version, instead fusing a pounding drum beat into the set. It’s here her vocals swing between the slurred stylings of Amy Winehouse and the more howled style of Florence Welch. Nevertheless Mariam treads the line carefully, making the comparisons fleeting at best.

Whilst the set carries the same experimental vibe of the album there’s something heavier about the live sound, creating a sense of oppression in some of the songs. This is balanced with the marching beat of Invisible Dreaming which, judging by the reaction, has rightly drawn in the crowd. The 7 minute long number feels something like an emotional roller coaster, music and lyrics colliding in a way which is disorientating and yet furthers the sense of questioning.

Nevertheless, for me it’s Love Has Taken Me Over which is the highlight of the set, Mariam’s vocals carrying more vulnerability and the guitars stripped back at the start of the song to allow for the keyboard to add the intricacies over a simple cymbal beat. It’s the bands ability to merge light and dark together throughout the set which is where the power lies. In the end it makes for a slightly chilling experience, which leaves the set ending with a sense of wondering. For a believer she’s perhaps more adept at capturing a sense of doubt, whilst at the same time confirming her new direction is a valid path to take.