Review of Matt & Kim's album 'Grand' released through Artwerk Music.
Brooklyn duo Matt Johnson (Vocals/keys) and Kim Schifino (Drums/vocals) bring us the follow up to their 100 mile an hour synth punk self-titled debut which they released in 2006. Known for their energetic live shows and their DIY attitude to their music, we were expecting more of the same. But Grand has a slightly different feel to it.
It is still the synth drenched, indie-punk sound of old, but this time they experiment with a couple of slower songs rather than throwing everything at us at speed. And despite the album being recorded in Johnson's bedroom, the production too is a little more polished, by Matt & Kim standards anyway.
Full of stabbing synths, relentless drums and killer hooks, these two know how to draw you in! It only takes one listen to imagine the crowd jumping up and down at one of their shows, and the up-tempo instrumental Cinders conjures up that exact image! But it offers more than that, a good mix of tempo and much more personal lyrics than their debut. And there are more than a few stand out tracks; you'll struggle to get Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare out of your head, with it's synth effect strings and catchy chorus. The hand claps and more down-tempo vocals of Don't Slow Down also have a similar effect. But the heartfelt lyrics of Lessons Learned show that upbeat indie-punk can still be meaningful and is a real winner.
Grand works well as a whole; it is definitely progression from their debut with much more depth both musically and lyrically. The double tracked vocals and layered synth effects give it a more polished sound but it still manages to retain that DIY charm. It is an upbeat, endearing synth-punk number that would sit well in most record collections.