This could be the ultimate soundtrack to social youthful Saturday nights in exotic melting summers. Niki and The Dove’s sophomore Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now is a cocktail of emotions associated with that coming-of-age season – cue a montage of John Hughes films. No responsibilities and plenty of time for over analysing heartbreak. Preceded by moments of uncontrollable euphoria, sudden sparked ambitions for the arriving Autumn (borrowing David Bowie‘s “we could be heroes…” on ‘Pretty Babies’), imaginative dreaming, holiday romances and the desperation to hold onto the impermanent experience before it becomes hazy sentimentality.
Hailing from a place associated more with winter, Stockholm residents Niki and The Dove (Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf) flourish at embracing the different sides of summer. Firstly, there’s the fun and free angle. Best portrayed on ‘Coconut Kiss’ and ‘Miami Beach’. Named after a drink ‘Coconut Kiss’ is tropical-flavoured lyrically, “swinging in my palm tree, cause I love coconuts” and from the the tin drum percussion – which producer Christoffer Berg used previously on Fever Ray‘s record. As it sounds like it’s situated on a desert island, there’s a sense of welcomed independence and longing of urban normality in equal measure. Yet ‘Miami Beach’ is extremely positive, applauding the aesthetics of summer “Oh, the world is so beautiful.” It can be more fictional in it’s cinematography like in the case of ‘Shark City (Tropico X)’. Suitably the synth structure is reminiscent of Lipps Inc‘s own made-up place ‘Funkytown’. It introduces a quirky district with enough fruit-celebrating to rival Kate Bush‘s ‘Eat The Music’, whilst it’s residents party with compulsory “sharp really sharp teeth” and Malin Dahlström becomes overexcited, shown by the heightening her voice to squeaky levels.
Before the jubilation, teaser singles ‘Play It On My Radio’ and ‘So Much It Hurts’ hinted that the album would be a jam-packed with 80’s pop cassette bliss. The former with a hook not too dissimilar from The Who‘s ‘Baba O’Riley’, the protagonist begs for a song to be replayed on the radio as it reminds her of the Eden she left behind. Whilst the latter could be the end of romantic chapter with Dahlström hanging on to the telephone in hope of rekindling what they had: “Oh won’t you bring it back?.”
As the title suggests, the Chic-esque disco epic ‘Ode to the Dance Floor’ is right at the heart of the Saturday night vibe. A circa 8-minute narration from Dahlström embracing the nightclub scene like Giorgio Moroder on Daft Punk‘s Random Access Memories. In this environment she is bossy, requesting the reappearance of the DJ, asking for smoke machines and ordering people to dance but there’s a vulnerability that’s bleeds out. She knows the season’s end is nigh: “Let me hold this moment. Don’t let it go, just yet,” and pleads for a memento: “…shine like you’re made of lasers and then leave me in the glow of you”. Niki and The Dove sure know how to prepare for the summer experience and the sunburn imprinted long afterwards.