Niki & The Dove - 'Instinct' (UK Release: 14 May '12) // Words: Rajan Lakhani
Niki & The Dove’s debut album 'Instinct' is a beguiling collection of songs which sees the duo more than deliver on the hype. Some might complain about the familiarity of the record given many of the tracks have already been released via EPs but that shouldn’t detract from 'Instinct' which should be judged on its own merits.
The album explodes into life with the blistering 'Tomorrow' and the wonderful single 'The Drummer' which is reminiscent of Prince in his pomp. It would be difficult to keep up this momentum after such a strong one-two opening and predictably the record does slow down but the songs remain very listenable, in some part due to the intriguing arrangements. 'In Our Eyes' finds singer Malin Dahlström channelling Stevie Nicks, although overstays its welcome a little, while 'Gentle Roar' features a foreboding, electro-tribal beat which is featured throughout the album.
A recurring theme throughout is the usage of animalstic imagery, which reveals the duo’s appreciation of nature and is an apposite metaphor for the primal, instinctive emotions explored. 'Mother Protect' finds the environment fighting back in the face of abuse with its memorable repetition of "You can’t keep me down", while 'The Fox', builds into a huge song with a gigantic synth-line, featuring a cold, mechanical riff that is ominous.
One of the few negatives is 'Last Night' which is forgettable and could have easily been cut. However, any disappointment is quickly dissipated by the rousing 'Somebody', which seems to take the best elements of 'When Doves Cry' and 'Little Red Corvette'. 'DJ, Ease My Mind' sees the duo successfully turn their hand to the dancefloor and with its throbbing beats is a club anthem in waiting. This mastery of the disco is also demonstrated in the final track 'Under The Bridges', which is an epic eight minutes but doesn’t lose the listener’s interest.
Despite its flirtation with experimentalism, Instinct is at its heart a pop record, albeit not a conventional one, following in the lineage of Goldfrapp and Kate Bush in creating its own singular world. There’s an enticing, intimate atmosphere to the record, which prevents it from being overbearing in contrast to the foghorn antics of Florence. In the opening track, Dahlström repeats "I’m ready to learn" but on the evidence of 'Instinct', Niki & The Dove are already some way to mastering their art.
'Instinct' is out now on , and is available to purchase from Amazon.co.uk.