Sunday, 13 May 2012

Niki & The Dove- Instinct: album review

Officially out on Monday, it’s been no rushed affair getting an album from Swedish electro duo Niki & The Dove. Already two EPs down, the album, ‘ Instinct’ features tracks that have been around since 2010, re-recorded, mostly unnecessarily as the originals were brilliant anyway. For those that followed them prior to all the BBC ‘sounds’ hype, this album already has a ‘greatest hits’ feel, albeit not in the mainstream until now.

Kicking off with latest release ‘Tomorrow’, the album starts with a track that sums them up with a slightly experimental edge decorated with an easy going melodic pop sensibility; kind of starry and other worldly in another galaxy type way. Malin’s vocals really make the ‘kook’ ingredient that seems to be all the rage with artists like Grimes right now. There’s a touch of Fleetwood Mac in this opener in places, a slight haunting of Stevie Nicks which is bearable yet supersedes and saturates overly in track 3, ‘In Our Eyes’; my affection for them only goes as far as Mick looking like my dad so skip that one if you are so inclined.

‘The Drummer’ as track 2 is just fabulousness, seeing Malin channelling her Bush  (yes really, see video), all layered synths and pounding drums makes it all human with a hint of Gustaf’s vocals. The longevity of Niki & The Dove is that these tracks still sound fresh two years later, and some released just last year, can still cut it on a debut album.

‘Gentle Roar’ and ‘Mother Protect’ are two of my favourites, particularly for The Knife feel that they embrace and epitomise in ‘DJ Ease My Mind’. I still think they’ve failed to top DJ for its pure and simple expansionist electro; melody pulsating through technology and nature, dark and light (like Star Wars according to Gustaf). These tracks from the duo really do cross a few boundaries, keeping it ‘furious’ (according to Malin) and make this album so worthwhile despite the odd downturn into 80’s poop.

‘Last Night’ and ‘Love To The Test’ are two tracks of romantic, love at first sight angst, marrying you on a back seat loveliness, hold someone tight right now and enjoy, it’s no lie, lots of breath being taken away…swoooon. ‘Somebody’ takes that guilty smoochfest pleasure too far, another one to skippity, two out of thirteen isn’t bad though.

‘Winterheart’ catches you somewhere between ‘Mother Protect’ and ‘Under The Bridges’, and brings you back up to speed with ‘The Fox’. Overall ‘Instinct’ is a good album, the foundations for an amazing album in the future? It closes with ‘Under The Bridges’ that does take you back and shows much promise and if there’s one thing their tracks never lack, it’s energy… whether it be in a forest, in space or just plain weirdy popland.

Talking of which, Grimes has a new video out for ‘Nightmusic’. There’s a spurious attempt at a narrative that’s a little muddled in mythology and religious imagery, not too much to read in to especially alongside indecipherable lyrics.

Electro females and forests go hand in hand right now it seems with the comedy of Austra, the quirk art of Iamamiwhoami and now Grimes. Personally, I prefer to see her doing her stuff live but in this latest offering, 'Nightmusic ft Majical Cloudz' sounds great and Grimes looks beautifully otherworldly in an electro sprite kind of realm…enjoy below.

Stream Instinct on NME
Grimes Image:

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