An unabashed, unending and unapologetic positive attitude is in the very DNA of New York indi rock duo Matt & Kim. Theirs is an infectious, bouncy joie de vivre that suggests every last one of their song – found on a trilogy of albums that hits its third benchmark with New Glow. It’s their fifth album all up, but this reviewer got to the party late.
This act is a soundtrack to positive experiences. Broad, silly fun is had in volumes here. And they’re a drums ‘n’ keyboards duo with hooks like “oh-whoah-oh”. You’re supposed to sing along, surrender to the energy and let the block party buzz drown out the bad vibes. At one point on the album’s third track, Johnson sings, “Can you blame me for just being alive?” as he sings about the joys of walking along the sidewalks of New York. ‘Hoodie On’, ‘Can You Blame Me’ and ‘Stirred Up’ are simplicity in themselves. ‘Not Alone’ is thick with production, enabling Johnson to explore his vocal limts and Schifino to keep it going without skipping a beat. Album closer ‘I See Ya’ takes the ebb and flow down a notch; taking the act to a more reflective, pensive mindset.
If you go back a few years, their breakout LP Sidewalks got them a gig on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Fallon himself (not exactly one to mask his own enthusiasm) described how drummer Kim Schifino mouthed ‘Oh my God!’ to singer Matt Johnson, just to reflect the weight of the moment. They performed ‘Block After Block’ and then went around high fiving and shaking hands with the audience afterwards. Where they get their energy is beyond me. Young people today.
So, what is for the most part unbridled enthusiasm, up-tempo beats and jams about being someone having just an extraordinary amount of fun, and in as much, probably not your cup of tea should you be looking for something with a trifle more edge. The world’s a dark, mysterious place, but Matt & Kim seems to want to just bounce their way through the miasma. Good for them.