Release Date: October 2, 2012
FADER Label; CD, MP3
Review by: Laura Eley
A look at the indie dance rockers' October release.
Like an aged cheese, you either love Brooklyn based musicians, Matt & Kim, or you can't stand them. Yes, they're predictable. But regardless of Matt Johnson’s stuffed-up vocals or Kim Schifino’s fanatical percussions, the duo is undeniably adorable and entertaining. From their high energy performances to their perma-grins and do-it-yourself attitude, they’re definitely that awesome next door couple that lets you use their hot tub in the winter. But let’s talk about the music.
A follow-up to their 2010 Sidewalks, Matt & Kim’s latest album, Lightning marks their fourth record, and third release on the independent label, FADER Label. Never ones to go easy on the synthesizer, the tracks carry the pair’s hallmark keyboard, drum, and voice heavy sounds. They do, however, bear a slightly lighter tone than Sidewalks, although (to be fair) even their darker songs are generally upbeat.
Opening with “Let’s Go” and ending with “Ten Dollars I Found”, the entire album ebbs and flows with a vibrancy akin to music theatre. They don’t stray far from plinking, electronic tempos that crescendo into drawn out choruses, which makes Lightning an energy drink soundtrack that registers somewhere on the indie/dance/pop rock spectrum.
Matt’s vocals shift at different monotone volumes, and create a sense of equivalence between the track and listener. It’s almost like hearing your big brother jamming over a Casio in his bedroom, while his peppy girlfriend provides some background shouts. They’re heaps of fun, easy words to sing along to in concert, but not very evocative.
Perhaps the highlight of the album, if we’re striving for meaning, is “Much Too Late”, which using repetitive lines to brush the song’s core nerve. From one catchy rhythm to the next, all tracks seem to focus heavily on the band’s, well Matt and Kim’s, relationship both romantically and as musicians. New York City is expectedly touched on, and values like letting go and self-discovery are repeated, though become less impactful when coupled with electronic audio.
But maybe in all their sweaty madness, that’s what this duo wants. Words and sounds that may not match traditionally, but are understood and reacted to by anyone. Like I said, Matt & Kim may not be for everybody, but they’re really more about creating an atmosphere than a reflective response. I bet their live shows, though I’ve never been, would get even Professor Snape going.