Niki & the Dove | Instinct

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

nikie1

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

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