SXSW Roundup: Niki and the Dove

by Eliza C. Thompson

Ever since Niki and the Dove’s debut EP popped up in the BUST office last fall, I’ve been dying to see them live (and blasting their spacey, technicolor dance pop on repeat at the gym). Last week at the Under the Radar day party, I managed to catch one of their many sets at SXSW, and they absolutely lived up to the hype I’d been building in my head for months. The rest of the crowd seemed to feel the same, because Niki and the Dove finally got them dancing, despite disgustingly humid weather that even the band admitted was sort of miserable

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Niki and the Dove is made up of vocalist Malin Dahlström and instrumentalist Gustaf Karlöf. Decked out in giant earrings, with about a million neon bracelets crawling up her arms, Dahlström looked like a modern-day Stevie Nicks gone to a rave in the future. On “Mother Protect,” her voice alternated between sinister, breathy tones and triumphant, full-on belting. It’s easy to compare the band to other Swedish electro groups like the Knife, but Niki and the Dove often takes their sci-fi, tribal sound to a much poppier, carefree level. Maybe it’s because I’ve got The Hunger Games on the brain, but I couldn’t help thinking that songs like “The Fox” and “Gentle Roar” would be the perfect soundtrack for dance parties in the Capitol. Dahlström might not even have to dye her skin to fit in with the likes of Effie Trinket and Octavia—her impeccable sense of style (and elbow-high bracelets) would get her pretty far. 

Niki and the Dove’s EP The Drummer is out now on Sub Pop, and they’re on tour in Europe this spring. 

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