Review Summary: A delightful pop album with a serious flaw.
After listening to Matt and Kim's self-titled debut, one might suspect that the pair go through a significant amount of candy each day. Bouncy, sugar-laden pop is all you'll find here. Virtually every song invites the listener to clap their hands and bob their head. Matt and Kim's simple songwriting and incredibly fun hooks will have even the most hardened metalhead smiling and tapping his foot, even if he knows he's going to need to throw up afterward. Matt's unrepentantly cutesy voice would be obnoxious anywhere else, but it's perfect in the context of the album. His honesty and flat-out goofiness pair well with head-in-the-clouds keyboard riffs. Kim's clearly not going to be on anyone's "Best Drummers Ever" list, but her simple and effective beats lay wonderful groundwork for Matt to reach out to the stars and, occasionally, grab one. Together, they make quite the pop team. Their music, though hardly profound or original, is astoundingly ebullient.
Unfortunately, it's a bit difficult to mirror the pair's enthusiasm when the music has little variation over 10 tracks. Matt and Kim have two or three song formulas, which are gradually stripped of their charm due to overuse. Often, you'll find yourself saying, "Oh, THIS song again." The obvious filler tracks get in the way of real gems. Yea Yeah is disgustingly simple, lyrically inane, and yet still brilliant. Light Speed is earnest and sweet with an almost melancholy edge, which (amazingly) never seems forced. But when a third of the album is just rehashes of the same idea with different lyrics, there is a problem.
Matt and Kim have an interesting dilemma here: If they expand their music and bring in new ideas, they risk losing the fun and silliness that they so desperately need. On the other hand, if they continue down the path of repetition and stale songwriting, they're doomed to be forgotten as just another mediocre pop duo. They clearly have talent, so to be lauded as the artists-that-could-have-been would be a shame.
If they'd simply removed a few songs (No More Long Years, Grand, Ready? O.K.), they'd have a truly excellent EP worthy of much more recognition. As it stands, it's a 30-minute-long album, and only about 20 of those minutes are worth hearing. Filler has its place in most pop albums, but here, it's just too much. Matt and Kim need to up the ante a little bit before they can be seen as the dynamite duo they almost certainly have the potential to be.