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Niki and the Dove: Instinct

Last Updated 10/30/2012 11:28:10 AM

By: Jeremy Wood

Niki and the Dove Instinct (SubPop)Niki and the Dove



Have you ever wondered how Bjork and Ace of Base would sound if they had a musical child during the ’80s? Well, that question can be answered by Niki and the Dove’s latest disc Instinct. There is something about Scandinavian electropop that seems to define its own genre. They have certainly taken a step beyond ABBA.
This isn’t rave music, but it’s definitely trippy. It’s a roller coaster of different sounds melding together in new and unusual ways. Are the songs bad? No, not every one of them is a turn-off; some are even enjoyable. Overall, however, there’s a certain homogeny to the sound that seems to rely on the idea of innovation rather than creating it. The variety within the music seems directionless and comparable to the musings of one who wants to try something new, but is still feeling their way through the rules of the game, like store-brand versus name-brand; almost there, but not quite spot on. The music doesn’t even bounce around aimlessly; it just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

Not every track falls flat. Yes, it’s sort of a crap shoot as to which songs catch us and which go the wrong way, but it is an interesting trip through the fun house. There are 14 tracks on this disc that open windows into the mind of Niki and her snow-white avian friend. In the days of phrenology, we would be feeling a very bumpy skull under our fingertips. It doesn’t come short in ability, as the band clearly knows how to play the keys of a synthesizer, but the talent behind those computer-based musical strokes is—in some places—still developing. There are skills emerging here, but, Instinct being a sophomore album, it still has the feel of a freshman album: part two.

There aren’t any tracks that would push a listener away, but that doesn’t mean we want to ride along on every song. Even a wild animal with an instinct for hunting still needs some practice before its first big kill. Niki and the Dove may have the instinct, but they haven’t quite yet caught their prey.

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