Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dance Music for people who Hate Dance Music

To be published in The Racquette on 1/30/2009.

Foot stomps, hand claps, synths and singalong choruses make up the signature sound that Matt and Kim have defined for themselves. Grand, named for a street in their hometown, Brooklyn, is no departure from this formula. They have created yet another CD of dance music for people who don’t like dance music. Matt Johnson (keyboards) and Kim Schifino (drums) share the vocals, but Matt’s unique voice almost always takes the lead. If the band has grown at all since their first album, it is through layering more things, such as acoustic piano and synthesized strings, which make the album much more full-bodied and satisfying.

The music is built on simple principles: driving backbeat and arpeggio-drenched keyboards. This simplicity makes it hard to dislike them, as they don’t ever do anything offensive. Still, they manage to mar the uncomplicated formula by taking some songs a bit too fast, leaving the listener gasping for air.

The opening track, “Daylight,” is a showstopper. The song is so catchy and easily relatable that they see fit to reprise it as the last track as well. By bookending the album in this way, they almost cancel out the utterly forgettable moments in the middle of the album. But, even on the less memorable tracks, there are still catchy melodies that will have you humming or singing along.

This is a great album to dance or work out to. You can download the single, “Daylight,” for free at http://www.greenlabelsound.com/mattandkim. The album doesn’t promise to stand up to multiple listens, but it is definitely something fun to turn on when your mood needs a boost.

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