Matt & Kim – Sidewalks

written by: November 2, 2010
Matt and Kim - Sidewalks album artwork Release Date:


Setting up camp in the ATL has yielded a throw-your-hands-in-the-air appeal for Matt & Kim, giving them more than the normal simplistic piano and drum synth-punk they have been wielding for the public since 2006.

Putting together their third album Sidewalks with producer Ben Allen of Gnarls Barkley fame, Matt & Kim have given the world a new way to look at their one-dimensional garage sound.

The duo still clings to their trademark offbeat vocals and hard punk drumming, but allow for a Southern California feel with a typical New York borough facade.  The album cover screams Brooklyn living and is complete with graffiti-covered buildings. It’s all hip-hop hints on the inside, though.

“Block After Block” opens Sidewalks and instantly sets the stage for cruising with the top down just before sunset.  The album’s first single “Cameras” follows suit with a continuous cadence that co-mingles with synth riffs and a heavy horn section.  Even “Good For Great” consorts with a big band sound. The summertime cookout atmosphere is reminiscent of Snoop and Dre rolling in their six-fo’s.

There are a handful of child-like songs scattered throughout the album.  “Wires” is cute.  It carries the torch passed along by Schroeder from Peanuts with Matt’s use of toy piano.  “AM/FM Sound” and “Ice Melts” are notes of the ‘80s torn from the pages of time.  They’re both cartoon like, and “Ice Melts” is scarily similar to “California Girls.”

“Red Paint” sounds like background pursuit music from Logan’s Run, while “Where You’re Coming From” has a murder mystery appeal.

The standout on Sidewalks is “Silver Tiles.”  The hard kick drum thumps like a beating heart during the intro, which resonates with epic tenacity, ultimately leading into echoing vocals and swirling Casio synths.  The strict lilt of the refrain is continuous, contorting a minimal tune into well-designed musical origami. With the sing-along backing and soaring libretto, this number could easily be a graduation song for any class of 2011.

Sidewalks is a neatly wrapped noise tour covered in well-produced beats comparable to Diddy or Jay-Z.  Matt & Kim are adding to their resume and broadening their gaze across the big sea of pop music.  Keep your eyes on the horizon; it seems their ship may be coming in.