Matt and Kim Ė Lightning
Record Label: Fader Label
Release Date: October 2nd 2012
Itís no surprise that indie-rock and indie-pop are two of my favorite genres, but what is surprising is that I donít have too many indie records being on my favorite records of all time list. Just a few are on the list. Regardless, there are plenty of indie bands Iíve never listened to, but have always wanted to. Brooklyn NY indie-pop duo Matt and Kim are one of those bands. I had the chance to pick up their latest record Lightning at a local FYE for $7.99 for a brief time, and thatís a good deal, right? Of course, itís a pretty good deal for most records, so I was very excited to listen to this, since Iíve heard good things about this band. Well, what I found was a bit disappointing, because Lightning is exactly what the title implies Ė itís a record that goes by lightning fast. At only 31 minutes long, thereís not too much here, and you might miss a song if youíre not paying attention. This record is very catchy indie-pop, but nothing more, sadly. Thereís not a lot of depth to this record, and therefore, thereís not a lot to say about it. There are some tracks that are very catchy and enjoyable, but they all sound quite similar, and they seem to rush by, essentially. Itís very energetic, and thatís a positive thing, but I feel as though thatís the downfall of the record as well. Itís very short, but even then, it seems like it should be longer than what it really is. With that being said, although lightning doesnít strike twice, letís take a look at this record, shall we?
The record begins with ďLetís Go,Ē and itís a very appropriate into track, because thatís exactly what I want to happen with this album. It starts off with lead vocalist Matt Johnson saying a lot of clichťd ďoohísĒ before the song starts. When he actually starts singing, his voice kind of threw me off a bit, because his voice is rather nasally. Thatís not a bad thing, because some of my favorite vocalists have rather nasally voices, but sometimes they work, and sometimes they donít. His works, but he doesnít have too much range. Most of the songs sound exactly the same vocally, which is why this record is not too memorable for me. It is, because the record is very catchy and very fun, but thereís not that much depth aside from that, like I said. Lyrically, a song like this isnít very interesting or introspective. Next track ďNowĒ has a much more electronic theme, with a synth bustling through the track, and it shows off the other side of the band, which is more electronic-based. I like this song, though, because the lyrics are rather nice, but Johnsonís vocal delivery is rather awkward here. The chorus is interesting, because it has Johnson and drummer (and second half of the band) Kim Schifino chanting ďnow, now, nowĒ over and over. I donít usually like it when bands do this, but itís not half bad here.
Being that the record is only 31 minutes long, the songs are a bit short, with the longest being sixth track ďI Said,Ē which is a bit more than halfway into the record. As the record goes on, most of the songs do tend to run together, despite the record being really short. This record suffers from something that a lot of bands do Ė their sound is pretty cool, but the songs sound very similar, so thereís not much variety and versatility. Matt and Kim is not a band that really grasps that. They know what catchy indie-pop is, but they donít really do anything aside from that on this record, which is why itís really hard for me to really talk about most of the songs, because they all sound the same, minus a few. So, I may as well just talk about the few tracks that do stand out to me, which are fourth track ďNot That Bad,Ē sixth track ďI Said,Ē and last track ďTen Dollars I Found.Ē ďNot That BadĒ has a piano riff guiding the song, along with synths during the chorus, so thereís at least one moment where things are switched up a bit, and it does please my ears. ďI SaidĒ has a really awesome synth riff running through it, and this is another song that has an electronic feel to it, and it just really sticks out. Thereís also some piano running through it, which makes the main synth riff even more effective. ďTen Dollars I FoundĒ is the shortest song on the record at barely 2 minutes long. Itís a very short track, but it ends the album quite interestingly, just because itís a rather slower track than the rest of the energetic record. Itís a nice way to close out the record, and end it on a quieter note.
The record is only 31 minutes, like I said a few times, so itís very short, and it feels much shorter than it really is, because the songs are very energetic and fun-sounding. Thatís a good thing, because theyíre entertaining and engaging, but itís a bad thing at the same time, just because the record seems way too short, and itís done really quick. Most of the songs tend to be very repetitious in terms of lyrics, anyway. Johnsonís voice isnít horrible, but itís slightly irritating to me, because it sounds exactly the same throughout the whole record. He doesnít really have any range, and it really annoys me, to be honest. Heís not a terrible vocalist, but he just doesnít have any range, and the best part of this record is the instrumentation; it may not be the most unique thing Iíve ever heard, but it does its job nicely. At the end of the day, this is a very catchy and poppy indie record, and thatís good, because the band does seem to know what theyíre doing, but the problem is, there arenít any twists and turns. Itís kind of the same throughout, minus a few tracks. In a way, I suppose itís good that itís really short, because I donít think Iíd be able to take a 40-minute record with songs like these. Not that theyíre bad songs, but they are really short, energetic, and donít really have too much experimentation.