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Matt & Kim – New Glow Album Review

In their fifth album, Matt and Kim provide us with more upbeat anthems, fusing together different genres (with especially prominent hip hop and EDM influences) and topping it all off with optimistic lyrics. New Glow is the first record from the Brooklyn-based duo, consisting of vocalist and keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino, since 2012’s Lightning and its 10 tracks, which clock in at less than half an hour altogether, pack an exultant and powerful punch perfectly suited for sunny days.

New Glow begins with “Hey Now,” which they released as a single in February. The short album opener is charming and full of chants, brass instrumentation, and simple beats. “Hey Now” and the penultimate track “Not Alone” are especially reminiscent of 2010’s Sidewalks with their reassuring lyrics and dynamic tempos.

“Hoodie On” begins with a repeated vocal track and the light-hearted lyrics (including the line “I look like a king with a hoodie on”) show that even though Matt and Kim have experienced immense success and changes since their formation over 10 years ago, they’re still grounded and focused making music true to their identity. “Make a Mess” has Johnson singing “Let’s make a mess because we’ve been clean for way too long” and with its quirky electronic and synth work, maintains the positive momentum of the album.

The album then takes a more pensive turn with “World is Ending,” which starts with Schifino singing over Johnson’s piano. It then crescendos into an intricate mishmash of synths and drumming. “World is Ending” features a thoughtful narrative, however, focusing on the ups and downs of relationships in light of struggles, but Matt and Kim quickly return to their signature brighter sound with “Get It.” “Get It,” the first single from the album and a Smash or Trash champion, is an explosion of youthful energy that boasts an especially prominent EDM influence. “Get It” follows the optimistic lines of much of New Glow, which both celebrates and seems to provide a soundtrack for carefree exuberance.

New Glow concludes on a mellow note, however, with “I See Ya.” The wistful track reflects on strained relationships, a stark contrast to the majority of the album, whose lyrics focus more on steadfast togetherness. Johnson sings with immense vulnerability and the song’s minimalistic arrangement allows the emotional rawness of the lyrics to be its focal point. “I See Ya” may not be as cheery as the rest of the album, but it provides New Glow with more dimension.

Though they’re approaching 10 years since the release of their debut full-length album, Matt and Kim manage to keep things fresh and fun with (the very appropriately titled) New Glow.

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