‘Instinct,” the debut from the Swedish electro-pop duo Niki and the Dove, will sound intimately familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the past few years of indie dance music. Which is to say there are echoes of Lykke Li, Bat for Lashes, Twin Shadow, and even Florence & the Machine.
The common denominator for all those groups is a deep love and understanding of the darker fringes of 1980s pop. The beats appeal to the feet, but the lyrics are aimed squarely at the heart. If you like to dance and cry at the same time, “Instinct” is your jam.
Singer Malin Dahlström conveys an icy exterior that’s right in line with the steely music she makes with Gustaf Karlöf. On “The Gentle Roar,” over rumbling bass and snippets of industrial effects, Dahlström somehow conjures both Madonna and Kate Bush. The call-and-response chorus is delivered more like a chant from a witch’s coven: “Born on a Friday/ (Make a cross on your doorstep)/ Keys on the table/ (Make a cross on your doorstep).”
“DJ, Ease My Mind” is Niki and the Dove in miniature. It’s a paean to the salvation you can find in music, a theme that carries throughout “Instinct.” Dahlström pleads: “DJ, ease my mind, will you/ Play that song again/ ’Cause we were in love.” (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “DJ, Ease My Mind”
Niki and the Dove play at Brighton Music Hall on Sept. 29.