Matt & Kim | Grand (Fader Label)

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cd_matt-kim.jpgGrand is as good of an ass-shaking, goosebump-inducing album as you're going to get.






Indie music is so many things. It's both creative and clichéd, inspired and ironic, stimulating and yet pandering. When indie edges toward pop you either get something that is about as appealing as a detailed list of war atrocities read to you by Andy Dick or you get Matt & Kim, something that isn't too amazing or too beautiful for this world, but expresses a sound or emotion so well, for that alone it is enjoyable.

Grand is a fitting follow up their 2006 self-titled debut, continuing the infectious rhythms and easy-to-sing-along hooks. Matt projects in the sort of way that would've made you roll your eyes four years ago, but thanks to Kim's lack of disco hit-hat patterns, Matt's vocal range and delivery is endearing and complements the sparse aural elements the two employ. He even musters a few mighty Black Francis moments during "I'll Take Us Home." Recorded in Matt's childhood bedroom in rural Vermont and laboriously mixed in their Brooklyn apartment, there is a great sense of space created between the keys, synths, drums and vocals that shines golden among the over-compressed indulgences of late. This is an album for those who love the sugary tint of Tilly and the Wall or want to experience something that's different from the same old indie poses.

However, this may be an album you want to be stuck with on a two-hour drive. The admitted inexperience of the duo and their constant touring has fostered some safe melodies and pockets for them to fall into. In particular, "I Wanna" feels so close to opening banger "Daylight" that you may confuse them on first listen for the same song, just in a different key and tempo. While that may hamper the longevity of Grand in your CD player, it's not invalidating or a waste of their energy, but rather something their next release will hopefully lack. By all accounts, this is an act you have to see live (or watch on YouTube) to fully appreciate. They've built up a name and fanbase playing spaces that hardcore bands with songs about Oprah would find uncomfortable, and that has to be worth something.

Comparisons to the White Stripes feel inevitable, even if it's just to explain Matt & Kim to your friends. And they are the sort of band that you almost instantly think about who to push on, even if you're not that type. Grand is as good of an ass-shaking, goosebump-inducing album as you're going to get. It's a bit bohemian, but hardly bullshit. A- | Bryan J. Sutter

RIYL: Dancing, fun, bright colors, cute boys who wear glasses

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