Niki & the Dove is a new Swedish band on Sub Pop that is clearly into, as Mok once said, mind-altering experiences. Their music has the air of Bjork, the poetry of Kate Bush, and a touch of avant-garde theatre performance. The last is appropriate as Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf have backgrounds in musical theatre production, which sets the stage for their video for the title track off their latest album, "The Fox."
Directed by WINTR, it's something of a cross between Mad Max and a Miyazaki film. A fox-headed woman stalks across a wasteland to stand on the edge of an impossibly high cliff, only for it to shatter when she gets their. The video follows her as she plummets ecstatically into the void, her head changing into an increasingly bizarre selection of Aztec-esque robots, Seussian chimeras and other manifestations that defy explanation.
Her fall is magnificent. Her only parachute is the wailing vocals and the solid driving guitar line that guide her as the world opens beneath her. Each change is startling and shocking, especially when she suddenly crashes through an invisible barrier from picturesque daylight landscape into a phantasmagorical night.
It's probably not appropriate to describe a video with only a single character in it as epic, but the sheer scope, the beauty and completeness of the world of "The Fox" makes the case of a vast internal adventure. The song's lyrics are a constant call for independence and freedom from the constraints of living up to other people's expectation, and in the simple act of leaping all the desire to escape into existence comes to life.
Falling in art is rarely seen in a positive light. Often it's punishment for rebellion and hubris, or perhaps an analogy for a descent into madness. Only in Ender's Game, a novel about the training of children for space-age navies by the brilliant, but vile Orson Scott Card is the concept of dropping feet first towards a goal seen as a positive journey.
The path of Ender Wiggins from child to adult is as good an analogy for the vertical road traveled by "The Fox" as any.
Check it out below:
We got a chance to talk briefly with Niki & the Dove via email. See what they had to say about "The Fox" after the jump.
Rocks Off: Is the Fox running from something, or is she hunting for something?
Niki & the Dove: Neither. She is trying to achieve something
RO: As she falls she changes her head, but never her body. It's always the same girl wearing a different masks. Is there something she is hiding?
NTD: It is a way of trying to describe all the different sides of a human being.
RO: One of our favorite moments is when she crashes into the night sky through a barrier. Do you think the only way into a new world is by crashing violently out of the old one?
NTD: Not necessarily, changes can start small.
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RO: Is this how the song looked in your head when you wrote it?
NTD: Not in a specific way. In the song she and the Fox are two different characters. We did think about a difficult journey though. The song is about a person who is becoming an adult, freeing herself from others expectations and from her own fears. However, WNTR have realised the song brilliantly in their own way... we love the video!