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Album review: Matt and Kim’s ‘Lightning’ a bolt of disappointment

When I want to listen to an effortlessly cheerful song to brighten my day, I often have to look no further than indie pop duo Matt and Kim’s wealth of joyful tracks. But listening to its newest album “Lightning,” which was released Tuesday, I found myself at times confused, disappointed and just missing the band’s old sound, à la its staple song “Daylight.”

“Let’s Go,” the album’s June-released single kicks things off. The song is melodically and lyrically simple, and the hook, “Say what you wanna say / Make it mean everything,” rolls right off the tongue during the first listen. The band kicks the tempo up a notch with “Now,” which has an electronic-dance feel and is lyrically repetitive – not one of the album’s bests.

“Not That Bad” is a train wreck. The desperate lover’s tale lyrics, “I sat all alone / Outside of your home / Waiting to get in,” left me wishing I’d skipped this track.

Vocalist Matt Johnson turned things around for me with “Overexposed,” a catchy track in which he sings, “Let’s wake the world / And sing them back to sleep,” my favorite line from the album.

The majority of the album’s 10 tracks is an unpredictable rollercoaster ride of good and bad music. “I Said” and “Much Too Late” are annoyingly repetitive. However, I found myself liking simple track “Tonight” and the choppy, distinct “I Wonder.”

The album’s slowest song, “Ten Dollars I Found” closes the album horribly, as it sounds like I could’ve written the lyrics (“I’ll buy the next round / With 10 dollars I found / At the Nostrand stop / Surrounded by cops”) at age 13. This song is no better than the “We got a dollar / We got a dollar / We got a dollar / Hey hey hey hey” tune from “The Little Rascals.”

Overall, the lyrics are predictable, average and too repetitive and the keyboards are overdone. I wanted to like this album as much as I’ve liked the band’s music in the past, which is perfect to unwind to. But “Lightning” just left me scrambling for something else to listen to so I could get Johnson’s nasal-sounding voice and annoying lyrics out of my head.


Grade: C+


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