Niki & the Dove | Instinct

Sub Pop (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  August 7, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars


On their debut full-length Instinct, these electro-pop Swedes strike a delicate balance between trance-y hooks and artful, world music weirdness — and the results typically sound like Cyndi Lauper covering Fleetwood Mac, as produced by Kate Bush. That strange blend of influences can be fascinating: glittery opening epic "Tomorrow" finds vocalist Malin Dahlström cooing a hypnotic lullaby, insulated by explosive beats and warm washes of digital synth. On the soulful rush of "In Your Eyes" (which is not a Peter Gabriel cover, although that could have been excellent), Dahlström channels her inner Stevie Nicks over Gustaf Karlöf's transcendent synthesized groove and a wispy rhythm track that may or may not include wind chimes. (Alternate track title: "Neon-Silver Springs.") And closing out a nearly perfect first half is the revved-up "Somebody," which sounds like "Little Red Corvette" cruising on the surface of Mars. So far, so great — that is, when Niki & the Dove make melody a priority. But the duo aren't exactly masters of variety: late-album snoozers like "The Fox" and "DJ Ease My Mind" feel both aimless and overly familiar. As a result, Instinct — clocking in at a bloated 14 tracks and 56 total minutes — runs out of gas way before reaching the finish line.

NIKI & THE DOVE | Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston | September 29 @ 9pm | 18+ | $12 | 617.779.0140

Related: Anti-Flag | The General Strike, School of Seven Bells | Ghostory, Debo Band deliver Boston to a world stage, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Arts, CD reviews,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED