Grand


Without implying any sort of negative connotations (in fact, meaning quite the opposite), there's something very adolescent about Matt And Kim and their latest release, Grand. It could be the simplistic duo of keyboard and drums, or it could be the giddy enthusiastic tone heard in every syllable of Matt Johnson's voice. It might also be the fact that every time I see drummer Kim Schifino's face in mid song I am instantly reminded of my best friend in 2nd grade, with eyes pinched and teeth gritted trying to stifle laughter in the back of class. Regardless, Grand succeeds in assaulting the listener with nothing but a good time.

This feeling of adolescence isn't helped (or hurt for that matter) by the story of the album's origins, recorded in Matt's parents' house in Vermont, in his childhood room. What better way to tap into exuberance and joy than to record in your childhood room? The result, again, is an album full of smiles and jumping. The jumping comes on tracks like the instrumental, "Cinders", on "Don't Slow Down" and "I Wanna". The smiling comes in the form of "Spare Change", a track that's percussion consists of what sounds like about ten people clapping and about four Matt's singing at once.

There are only moments when the joy of the album takes a few beats to pause, like on "Lessons Learned" where Matt sings, "Thinking about tomorrow won't change how I feel today" amidst a flurry of metaphoric phrases like "Two steps to the finish line/Three steps till I finish mine"... or something like that. It's a bit hard to nail down the lyrics definitively on that one. Other moments of pause for introspection come during the ballad "Turn This Boat Around" and personal favorite "I'll Take Us Home" in which Matt's voice hits its emotive best.

It's hard to pick the best tracks on an album that has a steady high of enjoyment, but one obvious track would be the single "Daylight". It's a melodic anthem full of thumping percussion and memorable lines like "In the daylight anything feels like home." Another memorable track would be "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare" if only for its almost classical sound, thanks in large part to the violin setting that I'm sure Matt's keyboard is on. It almost sounds like a Cure song during its chorus. The track also proves what I find to be the main point on the album: no matter what your views on the talent of the band or the technical prowess on display, amidst the events of the week following your listen, if you're not humming one track from Grand, you're inevitably humming another.

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Grand