Niki And The Dove - Instinct: Just Another Kooky Scandinavian Pop Album

Let’s cut to the chase – this is a perfectly good album. And I mean that in the same way as anyone who’s ever described anything as ‘perfectly good’: I don’t like it.
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Let’s cut to the chase – this is a perfectly good album. And I mean that in the same way as anyone who’s ever described anything as ‘perfectly good’: I don’t like it.

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Let’s cut to the chase – this is a perfectly good album. And I mean that in the same way as anyone who’s ever described anything as ‘perfectly good’: I don’t like it.

I’ll elaborate. The songs are interesting, lead singer Malin Dahlstrom’s voice is supple and expressive, some of the lyrics are poetic, the bass lines range from bouncy to downright dirty and there are some excellent musical touches.

But, despite all this accomplishment, the end product is just another kooky Scandinavian pop album which sounds a bit like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. I appear to be in a minority though. Niki & the Dove have attracted a lot of hype. They’ve followed the slightly annoying modern trend of releasing a lot of the songs from Instinct on an EP a while back meaning they’ve been out there for quite a while before this was released on May 11.

On the back of that EP they came fifth in the BBC’s annual mediocrity parade - the Sound of 2012 – the same contest which in previous years propelled such talents as Jessie J and Ellie Goulding into the mainstream. So, let’s have a closer look at the album.

You may note, I’ve not really got anything bad to say about Instinct.

It opens strongly - Tomorrow has an almost anthemic chorus and Malin sings “I’m ready to learn what it takes to burn/I want to let you show what it means to breathe fire.” Stirring stuff. Sadly the next seven tracks show a distinct lack of fire.

It provides just enough heat to leave my senses dulled until track nine – DJ Ease My Mind - arrives. This is more like it. At last, this is something with guts. When you want the beat to drop, it does. When you want the middle eight to give way into a more euphoric version of the chorus, it does.

In fact it was the first and only time during the album that I didn’t want the song to end and when it did I was tempted to skip straight back to the start. But I didn't, and the remaining few tracks, while stronger than much of the album, were an anticlimax.

You may note, I’ve not really got anything bad to say about Instinct. It’s a bit like a nice bar with stylish furniture and 100 flavours of vodka but no whisky or a well-cooked vegetarian meal: it’s fine, nice even, but it lacks heart and soul and for that reason, quite unfairly, I can’t help but hate it.

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