There’s something in the water in Brooklyn that makes it churn out the coolest of cool bands — Grizzly Bear, Vivian Girls, Bear Hands to name but three, with Matt & Kim‘s superbly simple and imperfect DIY indie somewhere amongst all those. And this sampler of their second album, Grand, is as bare-boned and rough around the edges as you could wish for.
Conventional perfection is never on the cards for Matt & Kim as they are off on their own search for their special kind. It’s a perfection that embraces sketchy vocals and slightly off sounding synths, just as long as they sound and feel exactly how they want, with the emphasis very much on how they want. This ethos and simplicity shines brightly throughout to sound like hook filled indiepop should, real and never overly complex.
Sure, Matt Johnson’s vocals are a way away from perfect — the proof is on the sparse and downbeat ‘Turn This Boat Around’ — and sure, Kim Schifino drums along the lines as a slightly more imaginative Meg White, but it’s impossible not to get carried away with it.
The absurdly catchy ‘Daylight’ has the layered vocals and synths to make it the perfect soundtrack to any party, so much so that Bacardi used it in an advert. The frenetic beat and repetition of ‘Lessons Learned’ doesn’t really go anywhere for it’s three minutes or so, but it doesn’t matter as things appear and disappear as it speeds to the end.
‘Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare’ stands out, invoking images of Ray-Bans and skinnies-clad scenesters clapping and nodding along to the wooden drums and “aaah-aaahs” in a dark New York bar. Matt & Kim are the diet option to Passion Pit, the similarities are endless; the DIY feel, the flashes of cool and dancey electro, the skewed vocals, the list goes on. If the rest Grand is as good this sampler suggests, we’d better get hunting for it.
Words: Jack Phillips