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Matt And Kim - Sidewalks

Matt & Kim, Sidewalks

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

NEW York duo Matt & Kim have delivered their most polished, accessible and downright enjoyable album in Sidewalks, their third offering.

The format remains the same to a certain degree… Matt Johnson still leads the way vocally with his distinct, even nasal tones, while the synths and drums collide with each other in a raw, enthusiastic, punk-synth kind of fashion.

But by enlisting producer Ben Allen (a former P Diddy collaborator who has also worked with Gnarls Barkely and the Beastie Boys) onto the scene, their third album becomes less DIY and more commercial. And the step up to the mainstream suits them well.

Where once the onus was on non-conformity mixed with being hip, the new one is on a breezy hip with a touch of hip-hop thrown in… I mean, how else could you account for the “wey ho, wey ho” harmonising on tracks like AM/FM Sound or the out and out guilty pleasure feel of Cameras.

This is clearly the sound of a duo brimming with confidence and ready to breakout in true crossover style and it’s quite often majestic when they get it absolutely right.

Lead single Cameras is a classic case in point… Allen’s beefed up beats lending a hip hop vibe, complete with sharp stabs of brass and a jaw-dropper of a chorus that combines sing-along values with a dance-worthy vibe.

Album opener Block After Block, likewise, drops an incredibly infectious vibe and sends you into a deliriously loopy state, while the Casio sounding synths twirl their way into euphoric loops for the giddy Red Paint, which still maintains a punk-ish vibe.

Further master-strokes of mixing come courtesy of the rapid-fire drums and sombre piano chords of Where You’re Coming From, which also contains some nice lyricism, and the lively Good For Great, which also combines a pop vibe akin to Take That with a hip hope vibe.

Northeast, meanwhile, shows how the duo can switch tones and go sombre to equally telling effect… tambourine rattles accompanying sparse piano arrangements and a virtually a capella vocal early on, before layering in the beats to hairs on the back of your neck effect.

We could go on gushing about Sidewalks but we think you should check it out to see what we mean. It’s quick, it’s smart, it’s fun and it’s the coming-of-age of an already endearing New York class act.

Download picks: Block After Block, Cameras, Where You’re Coming From, Good For Great, Northeast, Ice Melts

Track listing:

  1. Block After Block
  2. AM/FM Sound
  3. Cameras
  4. Red Paint
  5. Where You’re Coming From
  6. Good For Great
  7. Northeast
  8. Wires
  9. Silver Tiles
  10. Ice Mets
  11. Daylight