Niki & the Dove
Aug 03, 2012 Web Exclusive
Niki & The Dove pose a strong argument for living life as fantastically as possible. The Scandinavian duo (vocalist Malin Dahlström and keyboardist Gustaf Karlöf) favor big choruses and even bigger sentiments—peppering their theatrical synth pop with talk of life, death, and love at its most extreme. As a result, the band's debut album Instinct feels like the result of years of studying at the feet of the material girl herself, marinated in the melancholy of their native Sweden.
The majority of the band's full-length is culled from singles or EPs released over the last year. However, hearing the tracks together proves that the initial headrush felt upon hearing "DJ Ease My Mind" for the first time wasn't a fluke—this is a powerful set of material, riding on the wings of Prince's slinky synths and Fleetwood Mac's emotionalism.
Dahlström revels in a New Wave witchiness that bests likeminded big-voiced chanteuse Florence Welch by a mile. She unabashedly conjures up images of the forest and fields, her voice dancing like the wind in the trees during "Mother Protect" before a mid-song jet engine-like takeoff propels her into the club—pan-flute back-beats and all. They are obviously children of the dance floor and the forest alike, and never is this dichotomy more evident than "The Fox," a song based on the fable-like premise of a fox that lives at the top of a hill. Slinky, half-spoken vocals carry the melody against a scratchy beat—making it one of the few songs about spirit animals worth getting down to. On unabashedly 1980s-flavored track "The Drummer," Dahlström compares her heart to the pounding of the drum—and actually pulls off the potentially cheesy line. What kind of sorcery is this? Awash with grand ambitions, Niki & The Dove is one of the few bands whose grasp actually matches their reach. The result is dazzling. (www.nikiandthedove.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10