Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “The Gentle Roar” by Niki & The Dove from the 2012 album Instinct on Sub Pop.
Fans of Lykke Li and The Knife won’t be surprised to learn that Niki & The Dove hail from the same Nordic shores, as on their debut LP, Instinct, the Stockholm duo combines the latter’s danceable beat and arctic textures with the former’s playful, elfin voice. Niki & The Dove’s influences go well beyond those, though. Vocalist Malin Dahlström may remind you more of Kate Bush than Lykke Li, while Gustaf Karlöf’s electronic production blends elements of ‘80s synth-pop, goth, funk, and R&B. Through primal beats and artistic flourishes, the duo betray their shared background in musical theater as the album nearly explodes with implied visual imagery. It’s music made to be seen as much as heard, and in their press photos Dahlström is typically up to the task. But it’s easy to imagine how the songs of Instinct might translate to the stage or support a soundtrack to a movie. In fact, today’s featured song, “The Gentle Roar,” with its children’s chorus and flashing warnings of “danger, danger!”, it might have been an outtake of Karen O’s soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are.
Niki & The Dove are currently on tour, and they’ll be here in Seattle for Bumbershoot this coming Labor Day weekend. You can list to a stripped down set they performed last month live on KEXP from the Cutting Room Studios NYC here and listen to more music from the band and keep up with them on their Facebook page. For now, though, check out their captivating video for “Tomorrow,” another great track from the album: