Made to be Danced On
Much ink has been spilled over the third record by Matt & Kim, an odd couple of lo-fi production clashing with hi-fi aspirations. A lot of the contention over the worth of Sidewalks forms this highbrow-vs.-lowbrow discussion. Are Matt & Kim changing the world? No. Are they pushing themselves to take great artistic leaps forward? Not at all. But is the record fun and do you want to dance to it? Absolutely. There are some serious bangers here, and surely a few tracks you can skip over—not every indie-dance record is going to be flawless from beginning to end. Are the standouts that spectacular? The few that exist here are.
Let’s start with the official single, “Cameras.” Its wonky, weird sample of a sound layered under the hiccuping programmed percussion is an intoxicating introduction. It’s the kind of song that makes you move your hips and shoulders before you know you’re doing it. Then come Matt’s synths and Kim’s drum part before the somewhat cheesy chorus that sings in earnest, “No time for cameras, we’ll use our eyes as lens.” Scoff if you want, but we do live in an increasingly digital era with people, in some cases, being more concerned with taking the right picture than actually living in the moment.
The other singles that have charted are prime cuts as well: “Block After Block,” “AM/FM Sound,” and “Good for Great.” “Block,” for instance, has great commercial dance appeal. The infectious beat and hand-clapping excitement that leaps from the first track is hard to deny. The only concern might be that the programmed drum sounds and percussive elements sometimes drown out Kim’s (rather unimpressive) actual drumming.
The slower songs are the ones you’ll probably want to skip over, like “Northeast,” so the record ends up hinging on the infectiousness of the synthetic sounds, Matt’s earnest yelp-singing and the breakneck, shiny and optimistic pace of the rest of the record. Fans of Matt & Kim’s Grand may find the production overwhelming and overpolished. Maybe it’s their label, Fader, rubbing off on the bnd. Regardless, this record is bursting with sunny, happy hooks and rhythms. Sometimes you just need those mindless bangers to fill out your party playlist and for that, this’ll do just fine.