There are a handful of places in this world where musical talent practically flows on tap: one of these places is undoubtedly Sweden. From the early days Sweden has provided us with pop gems and strange marvels that we can revel in, and the tradition has continued in full force over the last decade, with the likes of Lykke Li, Robyn and The Knife helping to keep their nation firmly on the map. Maybe it’s the lifestyle of Swedes or the vast and beautiful landscape that helps these people work their magic.
Niki and the Dove hail from Gothenburg, and show a talent that has already been compared to the likes of Natasha Khan. She plays electro-pop but isn’t sickly sweet. Instead her often fragile and untampered voice floats over her dark melodies hauntingly, and her apparent love of loud-quiet-loud arrangements add the decisive punch that sets her small body of work out as beguiling and beautiful.
Her pop persona is simply a front for the darkness that lurks within though. ‘DJ, Ease My Mind’ mostly gets back on a somewhat disturbing and industrial synth before exploding in the chorus, while her lyrics aren’t exactly sunny; she almost whimpers about her lost love and pleads with the DJ to help her. ‘Under The Bridge’ is nearly power-pop perfection, although in the slightly off-kilter way that The Knife produced the mysteriously touching ‘Heartbeats’. It descends slowly into madness during its 7-minute long span, with random noises and chaos almost envelops Niki’s voice completely as she yelps from underneath. It is highly reminiscent of the ending to Caribou’s ‘Kaili’, but somehow the fact that we were lured into believing this was a pop song makes it more disturbing. It just makes it more tantalisingly delicious though.
If Niki and the Dove continues in this way then a new pop siren will be born, fusing together her pop credentials with truly challenging and experimental sounds that will set her apart from the rest. She has the wild look of Kate Bush and the voice of Karin Dreijer Andersson. What’s not to love about that combination?