Sweden has a long tradition of producing excellent pop acts, so for any Swedish musicians looking to make a name for themselves in pop music, the bar is set pretty high. Stockholm duo Niki & The Dove have done a pretty good job of achieving that high standard though. Armed with singer (ostensibly “Niki”) Malin Dahlström’s luscious roar of a voice (think Kylie Minogue’s seductive coo multiplied by Florence Welch’s penchant for grandiosity) and colorful, crashing production by keyboardist (ostensibly “the Dove”) Gustaf Karlöf. Equally adaptable in dance clubs as it is in rock clubs, the duo’s music is arena-sized synth pop that oozes with just as much charisma as it does with melodrama. Now touring behind their debut album, Instinct, the duo (accompanied by Magnus Böqvist on drums) are taking their explosively glistening songs on the road in the United States for the first time.
Opening their Bumbershoot Music Lounge set with some dark and playful synth work, Niki & the Dove made it clear from the beginning that their live act is much much more than pressing play on their debut album Instinct. As the electronic sounds crescendoed into a jungle of noise a clear beat emerged and Dahlström’s diamond sharp voice cut through with the opening lines of “Mother Protect.”
Karlöf’s talent as a keyboardist and producer truly shines through in his live performance. Each song is a artful reworking of its original that’s as familiar as it is unique, recognizable from the beginning but a delight that keeps fans on their toes. This was especially true of “Somebody,” the incredibly catchy dance track which was followed by what seemed to be a heavily improved untitled addition to the song.