Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews at 2KHz at Church Studios in Crouch End, London
The exploration that Malin Dahlstöm, the lead singer for the Stockholm-based group, Niki & The Dove, does on the subject of getting torn the hell up by love is admirable. It's a wonderful talent to make it sound like something that Stevie Nicks would be writing if she were collaborating with Justin Timberlake and Caribou. It's a thesis that seems to praise the promise that still might be in every full moon and starry night, but also has all of the data to prove that nine times out of ten (usually closer to ten times out of ten) things crumble to pieces before they're ever fully formed, before they've ever gotten good, usually at the point where their dissolution still feels like a rotten pile of hell. She seems to be someone who believes so innocently in what love might be able to accomplish, or at least in the theory of what love might be able to accomplish.
"Love To The Test" is a song that latches onto the sight of a potential fling for the first time. It's that bolt of electricity, that immediate pull that makes a person's eyes magnetically scanning from top to bottom, a body, the face, the face, the eyes, the legs, the ass, the chest, everything that's on the person. It's the first thing that hits and it probably couldn't be less of a great indication of compatibility, just the lusty blood crowing loudly, surely able to fuck it all up in the quickest of hurries. It's a song that lives for the suspense, that doesn't see anything wrong with the attraction. It wants it so bad. The next song on the album takes us to the place where everything has gone to pieces, where there had been a history and the love was nothing more than a weeping ball coiled up in a beaten ball on the floor. We're post-break-up and that means that we're in the middle of the rains and storms, the pain that's been drilling us between the eyes and the tits.
"DJ, Ease My Mind," is the point where the memory is too hard to live with, but that's not even the real problem. The real problem is just a song - one that makes her remember him - and she just can't bear it. It might have been a relationship that came about through one of those chance encounters and it just went too far - too far to have ever just gonna away or ended with a calm nod and a wave. We, as people, are ruthless to one another and we all know it. We take all that we can get and we leave behind the crumbs, knowing that, no matter what, everyone has to MOSTLY get over everything or everything just becomes so unbearable that we couldn't help but want to sit in a garage, in a running car and just cough until it all ended. Dahlstöm sings, "I wouldn't stop til I broke your heart/Oh, I'm just like you," and, what should sound like a threat, really just sounds like a casual observation of two people being honest when they didn't really have to be.