Matt and Kim’s new album strays from the duo’s original DIY sound

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Courtesy of Harvest Records

On April 7, lead singer Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino, the two members of Matt and Kim, released their fifth studio album New Glow. The Brooklyn natives hyped up the highly-anticipated album since January and released it with fans seeking this new DIY alternative-indie record.

Unlike Matt and Kim’s previous albums, most of the songs on New Glow start off with quirky keyboard sounds and vocals that reappear in the chorus. In the song “Stirred Up,” the line, “I’m stirred up, I get it,” repeats constantly with a keyboard playing behind it, but it is extremely hard to understand due to a voice filter. After hearing these sounds throughout the song multiple times, it does not sound as weird as it originally did, but it does sound distinct from every other Matt and Kim song.

All of the songs on Matt and Kim’s newest album are extremely bubbly and upbeat except for the last track, “I See Ya.” Songs on New Glow, such as “Get It” and “Hey Now,” have an overall fast tempo with funky beats all throughout the song. However, “I See Ya” is strictly played on the keyboard, with deeper, slower vocals sang by Johnson. Matt and Kim are mainly known for their cheery songs and “I See Ya” is an unusual change, especially since their last tranquil song was “Northeast,” which was on one of Matt and Kim’s older album, Sidewalks. Johnson and Schifino’s choice to make their first calm song in over five years was a good decision and making “I See Ya” the last song on New Glow is a great way to wrap the album up.

Simpler, less electronic songs on the album include “World Is Ending” and “Not Alone.” Both songs have a basic piano sound and percussion that tie together. “World Is Ending” begins with Schifino singing with a little bit of synthesizer playing as the drums slowly get louder. As the song progresses, the drums get louder while maracas and tambourines cover up Matt and Kim’s obnoxious synthesizer, making the finished product sound essential. The song, “Not Alone” immediately starts off with a piano playing while the drums pound in the background. If anything, “Not Alone” is a part two of Matt and Kim’s earliest single called “Daylight,” since the piano played in the two songs is very simple and elemental.

Matt and Kim’s fifth studio album, New Glow, definitely deserves a listen. The quirky yet original sounds both Johnson and Schifino created in this piece of work pulled together nicely, changing DIY indie music. Nearly all the tracks on New Glow are extremely peppy and danceable, but the entire album as a whole is experimental and may take some time to get used to depending on one’s music taste.