Matt & Kim are the indie pop equivalent of Red Bull and vodka: sweet, easy to swallow, and capable of delivering a kick on the way down. The Brooklyn lovebirds stick to what they do best on their third album, which reprises the formula that made their previous record, Grand, an underground success. Synthesizers, drums, and major-key chord progressions are the name of the game, with New York serving as the backdrop for most of Matt’s lyrics. The biggest difference between Sidewalks and the albums that preceded it, though, is its sparkling hi-fi sound. While Grand was recorded in Matt’s childhood hood, these ten songs were tracked in a pair of professional studios, and the resulting music is buffed to a spit-shine. Kim’s drums take the biggest hit; at times, it sounds like she’s been replaced by a drum machine, and the emphasis on club-worthy percussion -- the sort of robotically precise stuff you’d hear on an electronic album -- threatens to take the punky bite out of Matt & Kim’s approach. These songs will likely come alive in concert, once the material is divorced of its hi-fi studio polish. On record, though, the tracks sound a little too streamlined for a band once billed as “dance-punk,” with Matt’s voice serving as the only link between their D.I.Y. past and glossy present.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey