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Matt and Kim – Grand

Released on Fader, 1/20/09

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

If you know anything about Brooklyn’s Matt and Kim it probably has to do with their live show which, from what I can tell from the reviews and videos, seems more like an all out dance-off than a rock concert. I think this is what first struck me about the duo: they actually look like they are having fun! Their press photos are exuberant and quirky. Not a sulk or pout among them. No ironic hair, no white jeans that are four sizes too small. How are these two managing to single-handedly reinvent the meaning of the typical “rock and roll band”?

One listen to their new album Grand and it becomes pretty clear. They are youthful, spirited and grateful, unassuming, honest, and straightforward. In short, they are everything rock music sets out to be and the first things lost in the shuffle.

While I can’t say I would listen to Grand everyday, or even every week, I will say that the album brought back feelings of the unadulterated exhilaration of my youthful ears from years past. I immediately pictured myself in my parent’s house listening to an album like this, bouncing on my bed, tapping my feet, smiling, all blissed-out and feeling like I was in on the secret. Songs like “Daylight” and “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” break in with such force you cannot help but move your head to the half-time beat, and throw your hands up in a way that may embarrass you, especially if you are at the gym…and on the treadmill.

Grand took nine months to record as opposed to the nine days spent recording their debut two years ago, and though it is still pretty lo-fi, the musicianship and direction is leaps and bounds beyond those early recordings. Though not entirely my cup of tea, their enthusiasm is quite contagious and I adore seeing a band with this much raw passion rocking the crap out of the free world.