Friday, August 17th, 2012
The Gentle Roar
Review of Niki & The Dove’s Instinct and giveaway
Eliot HazelIt feels a bit anticlimactic to try and sit down and formally review Instinct, the debut album from Sweden’s Niki & The Dove, and the reasons for this are many. Besides the fact that I’ve been talking about them since last August and already seen them twice at Iceland Airwaves and again at SXSW over the past year, there’s the fact that though it’s only formally out in North America this week, Instinct was released in Europe and the UK back in May and was easily heard online all Summer. And even if you didn’t happen across a full album stream, fully a quarter of the album already appeared on last Fall’s The Drummer EP and more tracks were released as singles. All of which is to say that I feel like I’m trying to find some fresh words for a record that already feels very lived-in and familiar to me.
Niki & The Dove – their name is in reference to neither singer Malin Dahlström or keyboardist Gustaf Karlöf – draw inspiration from the bold, bright tones of the ’80s synth-pop without sounding anything like a throwback act. Like the similarly avian-inspired Ladyhawke, they instead look to the songwriting of the era and share in the belief that there’s no such thing as a chorus, hook, or sentiment that’s too big. Indeed, tracks “Tomorrow”, “Somebody”, and “Under The Bridges” – incidentally the album opener, midpoint, and closer – are irresistible pop confections that make the absolute most of Dahlström’s raspy range; people compare her voice to Stevie Nicks but not being any kind of Fleetwood Mac fan, I am in no position to comment. That same voice gives the dancier and slinkier numbers the emotional dimension that elevates them above dancefloor fodder. Karlöf also deserves credit for programming a musical world that is almost entirely artificial, yet sounds perfectly natural and organic in the context of what they’re doing. You might call it an innate talent. Or an instinct.
They’re embarking on their first full North American tour this Fall and while most are as support for Twin Shadow, their October 2 date at The Drake Underground in Toronto is their own headlining show. Tickets for that are $15 in advance, but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at email@example.com with “I want to see Niki & The Dove” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, September 24.
And if there is an upside to waiting for the North American release of Instinct, it’s that the Sub Pop edition comes with two extra tracks over the European version. One of those – “The Beach” – is available to stream below.
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “Tomorrow”
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “Mother Protect”
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “DJ, Ease My Mind”
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “The Drummer”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “Tomorrow”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “The Fox”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “DJ Ease My Mind”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “Mother Protect”
Video: Niki & The Dove – “The Drummer”
Stream: Niki & The Dove – “The Beach”
The Line Of Best Fit, The Stool Pigeon, and Exclaim have interviews with Jens Lekman about his gorgeous new record I Know What Love Isn’t, which is out September 4 and from which a video for the title track has just been released. Lekman is at The Phoenix on October 4.
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur”
Ólafur Arnalds has revealed the name of his next album via Twitter; For Now I Am Winter is done and in post-production, with a release date hopefully coming soon. Some clips of the new material can be heard via his YouTube channel.
The final song from Blur’s Hyde Park show on Sunday – and maybe the final live Blur song ever – is available to download. It comes from their Parklive set which is available digitally now and on CD in November.