Great company if you're in a certain mood. But possibly not if you have a headache.
Keira Burgess 2009-06-29
Prepare yourself world, for another boy-girl indie pop twosome. This one has a drum, a keyboard, and a frightening amount of unspent energy to launch in our direction.
New York couple/duo Matt (Johnson) & Kim (Schifino) escaped to his parents' place in Vermont to record their second album, allowing a good month and some considerable production in contrast to the sparse live recording scenario given to their debut.
Being surrounded by the in-laws certainly doesn't seem to have subdued the spirit of Kim or her drumming, the exuberance of which really drives Grand along.
Both the beats and the keys are incredibly simple: the pair openly admit to learning their craft as they go, and the resulting youthful, artless noise is a rather contentious cacophony. Put very simply, you'll either love it or loathe it.
For a start, it's loud music. Even with the dials cranked down, this is intentionally big noise (even if the pair constructed a tent out of bed linen to muffle Kim's uncontainable cymbal bashing). The vocal delivery is also unrelenting; a sing/shout effort that no doubt went some way to earning Matt & Kim their dubiously contrived and probably unwanted electro-punk tag.
Single Lessons Learned and instrumental Cinders are prime examples of Kim's favoured frantic pace, while psychedelic Turn This Boat Around and New York homage I'll Take You Home are more Matt's speed.
The album hits its high notes with its poppiest numbers: the Morse code keys of danceable Don't Slow Down ring a little of Depeche Mode's disco classic I Just Can't Get Enough, which is never a bad thing.
Basically vehement and overtly enthusiastic, Matt & Kim are great company if you're in a certain mood. But possibly not if you have a headache.