in Review

A Grand Band

Matt & Kim – Grand

In the wake of all the festivities and gorging on turkey, I came across an indie rock album from earlier this year that somehow went under my radar. Hearing about New York duo Matt and Kim strangely enough from Paul, I’ve found a lot to like about this piano and drum combo that released their second album last January. Known primarily for their lead single “Daylight” which has been featured in commercials and an episode of Community (which has also featured their song “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare”) Matt and Kim use catchy piano progressions, along with big beats and your typical “goofy sounding guy who can’t really sing” vocals to create pleasing urban indie pop/rock.

Featuring the duo of Matt Johnson (vocals/keyboards) and Kim Schifino (Drums/Backup Vocals), “Grand” is a fairly simplistic album. There doesn’t appear to be any guitars in sight or bass that’s not synthesized as keyboards and inventive percussion keep this boat afloat. Now I’ll admit that sometimes “Grand” feels a little repetitive with it’s basic approach but there’s definitely a charm to it as well. I think Kim Schifino’s drum beats are what drew me in initially. Her diverse playing style seems to incorporate everything from rock, to hip-hop rhythms, to something that sounds like it could be from Stomp. Top on Matt Johnson’s off-beat vocals and skills on the keys and you got yourself a “grand” indie sound.

What’s really surprising to me is how short this album is. At 29 minutes you’d think that brief runtime might be annoying but somehow it feels just right. Songs rarely wear out their welcome and I wouldn’t feel the need to add or subtract any tracks from this album. It might take you a little time (as it did for me) for it to grow you but I’d say give it a chance. It’s not one of the best albums of the year but it’s a welcomed addition and I’m glad I got to hear it before year’s end.

Favorite Tracks: “Daylight”, “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare”, “Lessons Learned”.