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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sidewalks

Posted on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge music_cd_mattandkim_cmyk.jpg
Sidewalks
Composer: Matt and Kim
Conductor: Matt and Kim
Label: Fader
Release Date: 2010-11-10
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

Forget Matt and Kim, this album is more like Matt and Ben, as in Ben Allen, a hip-hop producer best known for his work on Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere. As Matt Johnson howls “Now this is all me” on the opening track of his and drummer Kim Schifino’s third LP, Allen throws surprising hip-hop beats behind him. It sets the pace for the rest of the album, which is a whole lotta Johnson’s yelping vocals, as many (literal) bells and whistles as the studio time allowed, and very little Schifino. Sometimes this works, as on the single “Cameras,” which pairs live-in-the-moment lyrics with swaggering horns, twee xylophones, and a trembling synth line. But at other times, the production covers up the unrestrained exuberance that Matt and Kim often bounce off each other. “Wires” comes closest to an ideal partnership, with Schifino’s drums rat-tat-tatting out clearly over (for this album) minimal production, and her backing vocals softening Johnson’s nasal tendencies. But one listen to the following song, “Silver Tiles,” one of their oldest singles, makes it clear that perhaps in the case of Matt and Kim, there’s truth to the old axiom “all you need is each other.”

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