Album Review: Matt and Kim – Grand [Artwerk/Nettwerk]
Matt and Kim are awesome, to dispense with the hyperbole. They write 8-bit electro-pop-punk gems with the modest aim of changing people’s lives. ‘Grand’ is the second album from the New York based duo, originally released in January in the U.S., it’s taken a few months for the record to find it’s way to Europe, but on the plus side, it’s arrived just in time to save summer.
A combination of two-bit drums, 8-bit synths and righteous American accents are used to successfully deliver 11 paeans to positivity and the general living of life. ‘Grand’ starts strong with ‘Daylight’: a Sesame Street melody, vibrant vocals and a bouncing drum beat create a gloriously infectious, uplifting tune and it sets a high standard for the rest of the record. Lines such as, ‘We cut the legs off of our pants/ Threw our shoes into the ocean’, provide the kind of positive rhetoric that – as summer arrives – the children of the credit-crunch need to be hearing.
Aside from the fact that this reviewer hasn’t heard such a concentration of quality pop-hooks since Peter, Bjorn and John‘s ‘Writer’s Block’, what really strikes one upon listening is an overall feeling of authenticity, in sound and in sentiment. ‘Grand’ been allowed to breathe, to stay rough around the edges and (as on ‘Turn This Boat Around’) Matt connects with his listeners with a tenderness and compassion that is bordering on indecent. Whilst lyrically the band are addressing a lot of punk ideals, there is no sign of the holier-than-thou attitude which has caused the scene to eat itself, just a joyful (yet concerned) beatnik-style embracing of life.
Time will tell as to whether ‘Grand’ is a guilty indulgence or a classic pop record, but for summer 2009 it will remain on repeat. Uplifting doesn’t really begin to cover the emotion derived from it. In fact, this is the album I can’t resist listening to, when I know there are others I should review, or when I’m going to work, or when I just get into work and put it on the speakers, or when I’m riding the bus home after a gig; or thinking about moving abroad… or maybe that I should go camping more… and get a bike… or write better reviews.
Written for 4or The Record