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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Niki and the Dove’s debut album is one of the first long-players out the BBC Sound of 2012 traps, following Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again set. But thankfully this collection is no rush job. Having justified their Sound of… inclusion, as well as their position on several other tips lists, with their superbly excitable and genre-scrambling EP The Drummer, these Swedes have taken similar care with their debut long player.
First glance files the duo under Scandinavian kooky pop – but those bands too often stick glitter to the net, while forgetting to catch any butterflies. Gustaf Karlöf and Malin Dahlström avoid any laboured mysticism, preferring instead to sound uncannily like Kate Bush backed by Cut Copy and Goldfrapp’s electro-pop, filching pop’s best bits of the past 30 years while never sounding desperate. Mother Protect might fulfil some expectations for the eccentric with lines like "I’m friends with trees" presenting potential comparisons to Bat for Lashes, Oh Land and Ladyhawke; but Niki and the Dove emerge victorious above preconceptions.
True to the album’s title, they’ve followed their instincts, crafting a set for themselves that just happens to coincidentally be brilliant. Their love of pop is evident: from the wistful Italo-disco of the huge DJ Ease My Mind, to The Drummer’s ABBA-like echoed vocals and Somebody channelling Madonna’s Lucky Star, these songs are immediate, intricate and uplifting. Each demands revisiting from the moment it finishes.
The magic’s in the arrangements: a song featuring a recorder might sound slight, but in these hands it’s a powerhouse. Mother Protect’s breakdown will stun festivals this summer, as will The Drummer’s niggling synths and the car-keys percussion driving their most recent single, The Fox. The Gentle Roar samples tapped water bottles, but such experimentation always serves the song – they’ve evidently saving pianos falling down escalators for the next album. The tempo drops with the midnight self-reflection of In Our Eyes and we disappear into their dark, allowing the sultry Winterheart to evoke the still-rumbling machines of deserted fairgrounds with its extended coda.
Seldom do bands enjoying such hype deliver on the promise. But Instincts is the album Stevie Nicks might’ve made had she had fallen further from the Fleetwood Mac tree. Doubtlessly Niki and the Dove will one day relinquish this youthful pop abandon in favour of wilful experientialism, but until then be sure to enjoy one of the essential debuts of the year so far.
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Top Customer Reviews
sings, Gustaf Karlof plays keyboards and Magnus Boqvist manages percussion.
Their brand of ebullient electro-pop is strong on melody and addictively
rhythmic but it is the unpredictable nature of their song structures which
delights above all. There's a delicious sonic surprise waiting around every
corner and listening to it makes you feel good which can't be a bad thing
in these dark, wet, should-be-summer days (will it ever stop raining!)
Things kick off to a storming start with the wonderful 'Tomorrow', a song
full of Japanese-tinged synth decorations and an explosive chorus which
lights up the sky with a firework display of deft vocal harmonies (comparisons
with Kate Bush are not unwarranted) and Ms Dahlstrom's passionate central
performance. The dance-friendly beats of 'The Drummer' makes for another
exhilarating roller-coaster ride of richly inventive musical mayhem; densely-
structured but tight as a bow string. 'Last Night' is a gentler affair, full
of light and shadow and poignant sentiment. For my money, however, things
don't get much better that the delightful duck and dive of 'Love To The Test',
a composition which, with a knowing nod and wink to the eighties, raises the
roof with its gloriously uplifting refrain. A desert island disc if ever there was!
(Crikey, 'DJ Ease My Mind' even gives Florence Welch a run for her money!)
I think it was Passive Me, Aggressive You that lead me to being recommended Instinct. And sure enough the few reviews that there were (I bought this in the summer(?)), weren't wrong - Instinct is a marvel. More of the 80's electro that's appearing recently from foreign lands. New Zealand, Iceland and Swedes are all having a go - and are all being very successful too.
Early Madge, The Lost Boys (movie) and Cyndi Lauper all spring to mind for sound-a-likes for the first half then the second half modernises the sound somewhat. It could quite easily be soundtrack and I can see myself hearing a track in a pub quiz in years to come, thinking 'what movie was this in?'. But what am I saying? Unfortunately, I fear that gems like Instinct don't get the recognition they deserve and the chances of a track being in a pub quiz (outside of Sweden) is pretty remote.
All I can suggest is, as the other reviewers do, give it a chance and there's a very good chance you'll love it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliantly colourful album! Love this, instantly became one of my favourites.Published 17 months ago by RecordCollector
A good CD. Just when you think you have this music nailed they throw a curved ball. A couple of week tracks though. Overall you end up liking the CD but not completely love it. Read morePublished on 6 Sept. 2012 by Christof
I havn't actually purchased this item yet but from what I have heard already on the radio and on you tube this album sounds amazing! Read morePublished on 26 May 2012 by A. Lamb