Matt and Kim, ‘Lightning’ – Album Review
So, if bands were dogs -- for real, bear with us for a second -- Matt and Kim would be a Westie, without a doubt. Your typical West Highland White Terrier is a rapaciously affectionate blur of yips and licks and little doggie hops and boundless energy, for better or worse. You're going to have a hard time finding a Westie that's not absolutely precious. They're wide-eyed, smiley little balls of fuzz and love.
But holy cow, when you're not in the mood to be on the receiving end of that kind of overpowering doggie elation, Westies can be the worst things ever.
Same goes for the music of Matt and Kim. Since 2005, the duo have set themselves apart from their furrowed-brow, cred-hoarding Brooklynite peers by casting themselves as a sqeaky-voiced joy machine. They've got four albums of unshakably saccharine pop to show for it -- four big gulps of sonic Honey Boo Boo Child Go Go Juice in the key of D.
'Lighting,' their fourth album, doesn't see the duo switch up their successful power-power-pop recipe one iota, because, well, there's no reason to reinvent when the plan is so simple. Kim is still bombing her poor drum kit, Matt is still riding out those cheerleader-style vocals, and together, they still make pop music that's as catchy as it gets. It's a potent brew that, like a Westie, can get very overwhelming very quickly. But a Westie wouldn't be a Westie without its exhausting exuberance, and without being in-yer-face precious to the max, Matt and Kim just wouldn't be Matt and Kim. That's why we suggest digesting their albums in small doses.
First, to give yourself an idea of what's to come, check out album opener and lead single 'Let's Go,' which may take a little while to grow on you. It's not one you'll love right away, but soon enough, the sing-songy melodies dig into the cortex, and you find yourself pounding the drums on the steering wheel and whistling your lips cracked, even when the album is nowhere in site.
Hip-hop heads that they are, Matt and Kim also win bonus points for their possible nod toward buzzy emcee Antwon's track 'Helicopter.' Here, they change, "N----s call me Tony/ but that's the old me," to, "Forgot the batteries/ but that's the old me." Elsewhere, 'Overexposed' hits you with anxious Dan Deacon synths, 'Tonight' gives a Pixy Stix jolt to New Order's singles collection and 'Much Too Late' sound like Blink-182's (fantastic) self-titled album in the best way possible.
Westies, man. Westies. 'Lightning' is a fine album. Just approach with caution if you're feeling the least bit surly.