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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 156 - 06/07/09

Matt & Kim
Nettwerk / Playground

Brooklyn based Matt & Kim formed 4-5 years ago (they hade their live debut as Matthew and Kimberly in October 2004, a few months after getting started), when Matt and Kim - keyboardist/vocalist Matt Johnson and drummer/vocalist Kim Schifino - decided to be a band, a twosome. Their quirky, punky pop-music sure is catchy and makes you want to dance and jump and stumble around. The first names going through my mind are They Might Be Giants and (briefly) XTC, plus the newer Spinto Band. Even though Matt & Kim play slightly more simplistic, minimalist and stripped down, less structured music. Bouncing and bumping synth'n'drums dancefloor-punk-pop.

When they "formed" they had no idea how to play their instruments. I guess that this is adding the heavy charm edge/effect, and gives the music the edge it has. Grand is their second album, following the self-titled debut of 2006 (which critical acclaim launched them into festivals such as Lollapalooza), and was recorded Matt's parents' house in Vermont. Described by Kim as "being near nothing and surrounded by three cow pastures". Of the eleven, more or less short tracks (Grand clocks in in less than 30 minutes) single choice "Lessons Learned", plus "I'll Take Us Home", are among the standouts. Along with the closing "Daylight Outro" (remix) (plus opener, its 'big-brother' "Daylight"), the energy-filled "Cutdown", as well as the calmer "Turn This Boat Around".

Grand is quite good, without being great, or... grand. It's an indeed charming party-starter for some time to come, but not a classic for the future. The energy and high spirits of the songs are somewhat overwhelming, even though they're kept short and precise. With the attitude of their music in mind, and by judging the structure and the length of the songs, Matt & Kim could've been perfect football anthem composers.

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