On Tuesday, Matt & Kim dropped their latest album, Sidewalks. The CD is their third to hit the charts since last year’s Grand. It is sad to say but Matt & Kim’s recent effort at music making has been hit with a case of the junior album blues-a great attempt not being executed well.
I can’t knock Matt & Kim for trying, and don’t get me wrong– some of the songs are pretty a-okay. But Sidewalks offers nothing we haven’t heard before. The album opens with “Block After Block,” the typical electro-indie dance pop “hit.” As the album’s opener, you’d think it’d be a strong enough song to really make you curious of what’s to come from the rest of the CD. But the taste it leaves you isn’t anywhere near anticipation of what’s next.
For the most part the songs that follow aren’t too memorable, with only a few sort of sticking out from the rest. “Cameras” employs a good use of a horn section in the beat and definitely has a repeated verse that mildly hits sing-a-long status. Yet “Red Paint,” the song after “Cameras” on the album, falls short.
After about four songs of mediocrity, we get to “Wires.” This song has a light, carefree feel to it and will definitely be one of the songs that sticks in your head. Even better than this breath of fresh listening, the best (or what we consider best for the sake of this subject) is the album’s closer, “Ice Melts.” It is the most dance sounding song on the list and uses the same horn set as “Cameras.” If you were making a mix CD to play in the background of a party, this one would be on the list…most likely somewhere in the middle when your guests are starting to feel their drinks. If you can’t open the album on a strong note at least close it on one and that’s what Matt & Kim tried to do, though it ended very abruptly and left me with the “uhh, is that it?” impression.
Overall, I’d give the album a C+. It’d be the album you only put a few songs from onto your iPod (“Cameras,” “Wires” and “Ice Melts”). To see for yourself, each of the songs can be sampled here. You may grade this album on a curve, but I’m sticking to the standard grading scale. It’s not one I’d be bumping in my headphones while I’m walking down the sidewalk.
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