There seems to be a recent popular culture obsession with witches, magic, forests, elves and all things fantasy – Niki and the Dove’s (@nikiandthedove) Gustaf Karlöf and Malin Dahlström from Stockholm are certainly following suit. Crafting music that brings to mind a more technical, electronic Florence + The Machine, the Sub Pop signatories recently released their album, Instinct, in accordance with new age pop strategies: mind numbing pad synths, intricate sound effects, ethereal vocals and relatively traditional song structures. Their combination of recent popular genres such as dubstep, indie and electro makes for an album suitable for party-goers, intimate listeners and all situations in-between.
The first track of note, “The Drummer”, features concise beats, needle-pinching synthesizers and a solid lyrical chorus. Following is the album’s next treat, “Mother Protect”, which throws listeners into a dark, intense world of hard hitting bass lines, supernatural, eerie feature sounds and a completely epic breakdown section. After hearing these two songs, it’s clear the duo’s influences include the indie pop of Goldfrapp, the indie genius of Bat for Lashes, and just a touch of Madonna.
The record continues with the flamboyant chorus of “Somebody”, overtly similar to Madonna’s “Lucky Star” and the ballad appeal of “Love to the Test”. Their capstone song, “Under the Bridges”, impresses most, slowly inviting listeners into an epic build up, easily memorable chorus and slightly more simplistic, yet addictive tune.
Next time you need a soundtrack whilst you prance with wild spirit animals, press play on Instinct — its skeletal beats, dark, mystical themes, off centre time signatures and overall ethereal sound will fit right in.