Nikki & The Dove, Lille Vega (Jan 2012)

 **** (4 stars out of 6); January 6 at Lille Vega

The massively hyped Swedish electropop trio Niki & The Dove have got off to a sprinting start in 2012. Having finished fifth in the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 award, the pop-inclined Swedes brought their cheeky blend of music to Lille Vega January 6 in a concert that turned out be quite an endearing affair.

With the frenzy of the festive period still hanging heavily in the frosty January air, Niki & The Dove were the perfect cure for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve hangover that many of us found ourselves caught up in. The trio were energetic, enterprising and at times even enigmatic in a performance that saw them predominantly play tracks off their charismatic debut album, The Drummer.

The instrumental number ‘Sundog’ got things going with its enchanting peculiarity, before last year’s single ‘The Fox’ gave lead singer Malin Dahlström an opportunity to showcase her sharp vocals, aided by a heavy-set vocoder that cut through Lille Vega like a knife through butter.

Signature tune ‘The Drummer’ was next in line and got a few feet moving with its heavy Depeche Mode-esque synth stabs alongside clear vocals. The cut provided a welcome break to the more lackadaisical sounds of the band. This witty shift was something of a constant throughout the concert, yielding a fusion that sounded like a daring blend of  vintage synth poppers The Knife and British diva Kate Bush.

As things progressed, however, awkward lengthy silences between tracks and a rather unenthused crowd put a bit of a damper on the proceedings. And whilst the charming Malin Dahlström did her bit to warm quite a few hearts with her poetic interjections in between songs, one was ultimately left with a sense of unfulfilled expectation and a longing for some missing ingredient  in the performance. Whether this was due to the blasé crowd or to Niki & The Dove’s performance is hard to tell. What is certain though is that this is definitely a band to watch out for in 2012, a year that may well see the group join the Scandinavian pop offensive as they follow in the footsteps of the likes of The Knife, Robyn and Fever Ray.

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