Matt and Kim stick to old sounds on new album
Indie pop favorite Matt and Kim is back on the scene with the same rowdy energy that catapulted it into indie heavyweight status back in 2006. The Brooklyn duoâs new album, Lightning, released Tuesday, offers a similar set of the propulsive synth and jovially defiant chants it is already so renowned for.
The first single off Lightning, âLetâs Go,â is filled with âooohsâ and Matt Johnsonâs repetitive chants, âletâs go, letâs go, letâs go.â He is âshouting out of my windows/rolled down/âcause I donât care anymore.â
Though not quite the voice of a generation, Johnson knows how to rally the fist-pumping troops into buoyant synth-pop rebellion. With such a continuous energy present in its sound, consider it surprising the band didnât have a song like âLetâs Goâ before this album.
From the street art-esque Brooklyn imagery of the album cover to the rah-rah songs powered by fun times and angst, Matt and Kimâs newest album doesnât signify much change for the duo. Johnsonâs nasally voice still sings fun, crowd-pumping melodies against crude synthesizers. And Schifinoâs raucous drum accompaniments stuff enough beats in each track to make your head explode.
âNowâ delivers such an in-your-face tempo you canât help but dance, headbang or fist-pump â whichever might be your forte. Schifino shines on this track as her constant barrage of drums carries the song, colliding perfectly with Johnsonâs chants of âNow!â Again, the troops rally in numbers.
âItâs Alrightâ continues the upbeat vibes, but also builds upon the vigor of the preceding song. The introductory synths, reminiscent of what you would here in a dance track, immediately transcend into a happy-go-lucky tune of âalright, itâs alright, itâs alright / youâll see ooooh.â Here, everything is alright: a great high-energy song and easily one of the more outstanding tracks on the album.
Another noteworthy track, âTonight,â holds the potential to be the anthem to your semester. Of course the content is, as you might have guessed, about âturning it up tonight.â Champagne is involved. As is something about New York. Itâs a friendly tune to be expected at your next party, where sing-alongs might even commence.
But itâs not all fun and games for the indie pop duo.
Johnson adds an angsty attitude toward the album, a strange choice given the upbeat musings of Matt and Kim. As he wails out âYou think Iâm some little phony / thing is you donât f-cking know meâ over Schifinoâs punk-inspired drum beat in âMuch Too Late,â the message becomes most clear: the twosome can deliver a big olâ middle finger to the world in only the cutest way possible, an achievement unique toÂ Matt and Kim.
But Lightning, while remaining in the bandâs poppy spirit, fails to propel Matt and Kim away from their previous albums. Schifinoâs contributions are stronger here, having grown more comfortable with contributing backing vocals, but many of these songs sound as though theyâve been heard elsewhere, perhaps even on previous releases from the band itself. Lightning falls back too much on the shouty singing, simplistic lyrics, rudimentary synths and melodic crooning that have already became quintessential characteristics of the band.
For longtime fans of the twosome, this album will make a great addition to the party playlist. And without a doubt, experiencing these songs live will be too fun for words. But Lightning simply holds little potential to attract new fans.