‘Lightning’ strikes, but it’s not ‘Grand’

ARTS_Lightning

Formerly published in The Other Press. Oct. 2 2012

By Elliot Chan, Contributor

3/5

If the fleeting moments of summer could be captured on an album, then Matt & Kim have done the job. The indie-pop duo’s fourth album, Lightning, came out on October 2—just in time to help you cope with the looming monotonous seasons ahead.

Those familiar with Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino’s earlier works will know their music arouses the body, forcing you onto your feet, and percolating the senses to dance. You could resist it, but sitting still through a whole song is like holding in a sneeze, something they’ve managed to accomplish yet again on this album.

…their music arouses the body, forcing you onto your feet, and percolating the senses to dance.

In fact, Matt & Kim bring all the elements we love back into their new album. That said, their lack of risk-taking can’t be ignored. There is something about Lightningthat just didn’t spark me the same way their last album Sidewalks (2010) did. I feel like I am arriving at the same party, with all the same people, and talking about all the same things.

Regardless of the party’s familiarity, if you let loose, then you’ll have a good time. But the songs are not all fun and games; most of the lyrics derive from nostalgia. Their eighth track, “I Wonder” contains such savory lines as, “Maybe (maybe) I’ll learn all I need to know from bottles and their broken glass/ Maybe (maybe) these streets were my teachers and I sat in back of class.” Then there is their harmonized finale, “Ten Dollars I Found,” which has a melancholy overtone as they begin fading out: “I’ll buy the next round, with 10 dollars I found.”

Like the memories of summer, Lightning is short and sweet, containing 10 songs and, as usual, just surpassing 30 minutes.

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