Niki & the Dove is an electro-pop duo from Stockholm made up of Malin Dahlstrom and Gustaf Karlof. Formed only two years ago very quickly after the two musicians met, the band made a splash in Europe for icy, Swede-pop dance jams that already sounded polished and brave. Within a matter of time, Niki & the Dove had earned a high placement on BBC’s Sound of 2012 and a deal with Sub Pop. Their full-length album Instinct, sounds like a fully-formed sonic experience, easily bypassing the rough edges and odd side trips normally expected from a debut.
That being said, the sonic experience offered on Instinct is a very, very specific one—but it’s certainly not without its charms. If you dig heavy production, Florence and the Machine-esque theatrics, or the ‘80’s in general, then Niki & The Dove may be your band, and Instinct may be your album.
Even if not, Malin Dahlstrom’s voice is something to talk about, a thunderous natural phenomenon of its own, and thanks mostly to it, there are moments on Instinct that are undeniably compelling. The dark, swelling chorus of “DJ, Ease My Mind” is rapturous, the hypnotizing roll of “Last Night” eerily catchy. “Somebody,” one of the album’s more upbeat moments, clocks in at a just-right three minutes of Whitney Houston-style pop power.
In every case, Instinct sounds best when Niki & the Dove are trying their hardest, driving a dark, swelling chorus to its peak over synths and pounding percussion. When they venture elsewhere —like on “The Gentle Roar” or the strangely long “Under the Bridges”— the result is something less universal.