I suppose I should mention up front that I didn't like Tears for Fears in 1985 and I still don't 25 years later, even in a nostalgic sense. So it stands to reason that I have little use for Matt & Kim in 2010.
It's not that Matt & Kim is a bad band, but their aggressively breathless approach to synth-pop is more than a little irritating. It's the kind of rainbow-colored pop (all dippy 1980s synths and clipped drum beats) in which one song goes a long way. A 10-song, 35-minute record of this stuff is simply overkill.
The singer (Matt) sings as if he's trying to push the words out of his mouth through an ever-present giant smile on his face. Even when Matt sings about the "lovely grime" of New York, it sounds as though he's grinning, like he's trying out for the lead in a high school production of Godspell.
The songs on Sidewalks are pretty catchy, but for as poppy and bright as Matt & Kim's sound is, it's remarkably charmless.
Best song: Closing track "Ice Melts" Rotation: Low Deja Vu: Another unnecessary trip back to the 1980s. I'd rather listen to: Scissor Sisters' Night WorkGrade: C-
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here. The "Nothing Not New" Archives