Niki & the Dove Instinct

Niki & the Dove Instinct
Goth-tinged electro-pop duo Niki & the Dove hail from Sweden, where debut single "DJ, Ease My Mind" has received rave reviews since 2010. Combining singer Malin Dahlstrom's higher pitched vocals with a jangly array of bass and percussion, Instinct is a schizophrenic concoction of gothic, echoing ambience and danceable, airy electro-pop. There's more emphasis on the latter, however, as many songs are reminiscent of Robyn's Body Rock, not least of all because of the resemblance between Dahlstrom's vocals and her fellow pop star Swede ("Somebody," "The Beach"). There's a bit of confusion as to what the focus is on. The layered technicality of the album production is hard to ignore beneath Dahlstrom's singing, bringing both to the foreground at varying times. Instinct features heavy rhythms that are interjected with brisker overtones and lighter beats. Simultaneously, Dahlstrom's vocals range from a soft, echoey whisper to shrill singing, all the while projecting a sense of gothic histrionics that don't quite deliver as much as they promise. Comparisons to Zola Jesus and Florence/Clare Maguire fall short, given that this album lacks the richness in the vocals, compensating with light, quick, catchy dance beats. (Sub Pop)