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ATP! Album Review: Matt and Kim – Lightning

Even if you have no idea who Matt and Kim are, you do, probably from “that Bacardi commercial.” Unquestionably voted Most Adorable Couple from your high school, the bubbly indie musicians have bopped out their progression from 2010’s "Sidewalks with Lightning". While they haven’t lost the beat-heavy production that made them so popular a few years back – a firm stance somewhere in conjunction with hip hop, club rock and indie pop – the painfully singable, synth-heavy "Lightning" is unbearably predictable, for several reasons.

Among the most cringing: the chorus of almost every track on the record consists of a repetitive chant of that track’s title, over, and over, and over again.

And it starts with opener and first single release 'Let’s Go', an ‘80s vintage hip hop beat bended with funk, insanely danceable and fitting for any classy alcohol/eco-friendly automobile/customer service-promising commercial on TV – yet immediately revealing Matt and Kim’s limited lyrical talents.

'Now' moves with millennial electronica between obnoxious-attitude verses and a club rage chorus (made up of that repetition strategy, shouting “Now” for a few seconds) and cuts out with perplexing trashcan percussion and vintage strings. The sped-up tempo turns into an EDM track and it’s all just a bit bizarre, though you can see where the two are going with this: envision Kim at a live show standing on top of the crowd sweating her ass off and getting everyone else to chant along.

But this isn’t a live show, and the repetition of track titles as chorus lyrics is getting old with 'It’s Alright'. 'Not That Bad' is the return of the familiar toy piano we heard on the last record, though an awkward slowdown with cymbals crashing behind deep horns for a clumsy marching band effect turns monotonous by the end, dragging us into the synths, hand clapping and space-age effects of 'Overexposed'.

It’s almost a joke at this point, but who laughs at the same joke more than a couple of times? 'I Said' and 'Tonight' both continue the repetitive chorus technique, this time to romanticize the New York city late-night party scene.

The vocal scratching and spooky “oohs” of 'I Wonder' are soon followed by 'Much Too Late', a high-speed chase two-step whose vocals reminisce of those goofy nursery rhymes you sing at summer camp. And to end "Lightning" we’re offered 'Ten Dollars I Found' - a farewell singalong of a vocal and piano duo that touches on the marching band again.

While each individual track does, in fact, have its own unique character of effects and production and styles and attitudes, collectively it feels that once you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard 'em all. The over simplistic vocals of Matt and the monotonous 4/4 stomping of Kim’s drums amount to a very basic release for the two. While it doesn’t take away from the couple’s ability to absolutely destroy a crowd with sweat and infallible cheerfulness at their live shows, after the firestorm success from “Daylight” it unfortunately appears that lightning doesn’t strike twice.


Carolyn Vallejo 

"Lightning" is released on October 2nd through Fader.

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