Matt & Kim – Grand Matt & Kim – Grand

Matt & Kim - Grand Album Art

Matt & Kim - Grand

What’s more self-gratifying? Naming your new album Grand after the street you call home, or releasing it on an on an Inauguration Day for the ages? If you believe the hype that Matt and Kim are the “quintessential party band” you ought to know that the party never ends with this two piece drum n’ synth combo. Surprisingly though, Kim Schifino and Matt Johnson serve up an unexpected slice of maturity on the follow-up to their self-tilted debut. Yes, sadly all Brooklyn bands must grow up in due time just as all infantile presidents must eventually resign.
Don’t get me wrong – Handclaps, animate synthesizers, and Matt’s emotive punk vocal inflection are still a huge part of the equation. This time around however, self-restraint dictates the development of several highlighted songs dense with nuance. The first single, “Daylight” comes on as an ideal hipster anthem featuring a trademark minimalist piano hook coupled with opening lyrics loaded with nostalgia: “We cut the legs off our pants/Threw our shoes into the ocean”. Think Tokyo Police Club minus the subtext and distorted guitars. In “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare”- a song Matt recently proclaimed to be the best written by the band to date – Kim’s kick drum provides a thumping bass backbone for Matt’s jaunty, driving piano melody and ensuing chorus chant. Swirling synth flange effects offer a hint of psychedelic subtlety more characteristic of a band like MGMT.
A cursory peep of Grand’s cover artwork might suggest that this sophomore offering has found new-wave darlings, Matt and Kim in the Fall of their musical careers. At the forefront of an otherwise sterile urban landscape (Brooklyn, where you at?) stands a tree; its barren condition is accentuated by an onset of day-glo orange colors reminiscent of autumn foliage. Not to be overshadowed by the borough that helped hone their artistic chops, the band has inserted what may likely be an image of Johnson’s childhood home-turned recording studio.
In a recent blog entry Matt (vocals/keys) noted the inescapable extreme conditions in which the duo recorded the album, “…playing a keyboard in a winter coat and cut off gloves, sitting in a Vermont bedroom with no heat in December…mixing wearing only underwear, sweating at 5am in a Brooklyn apartment with no air conditioning…” Evidently, this is a band that feeds off confrontation. Throw some lemons up on stage at their next tour stop, and who knows? There just might be a pitcher of fresh lemonade waiting for you by the end of the set.

The Point: Despite a noticeably bigger production value, Grand retains much of the DIY beaming energy indicative of the Matt and Kim experience.

Download the single, “Daylight” at

Matt & Kim - Grand, reviewed by Humber on 2009-03-03T19:05:18-08:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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