Label: Fader Release date: January 20, 2009 Website: Buy: Amazon I keep a list in my diary of the greatest, most memorable, fantastic things that I’ve experienced so far. Between the mountain tops and beachside bonfires, Matt and Kim are the only musical act to have made it on the list. It was summer 2007, and the incredibly in love bandmates were playing at the Siren Fest on Coney Island in Brooklyn. It was hot, people were covered in sunscreen and spilt beer, and sunburns were more prevalent in the crowd than wayfarers. The festival was great, but the day was filled with the backing murmer of complaining New Yorkers. That is, until Matt and Kim hit the stage. Suddenly, joy erupted in a momentary flash. The skies opened, strangers danced together, a soft summer breeze began to blow, and all was good. Matt and Kim’s records are just as infectious and positive as their live performances. Their self-titled debut was a minimalist, twee/punk love letter, and listening to their music, you can almost hear the adoration Matt and Kim have for each other. Their relationship is not flouted as a gimmick, and they are a genuinely likable couple. You could compare them to a twee White Stripes, or a more exciting Mates of State. With Kim on drums, Matt sings and plays the keyboard. His everyman, recorded-in-his-childhood-bedroom sound is immediately accessible and sweet. Their songs are positive, simple, and hyperactive. You could almost imagine bumping into them in the street. ‘Check out these songs!’ they would say. ‘They’re really fun! I hope you like it!’ Their sophomore effort, 'Grand', is even more joyous and approachable than the debut. The opening track, 'Daylight', is a brilliant balance between charismatic vocals and a simple, tap-tap-tapping drum. Matt sings ‘Slip and slide on subway grates/ these shoes are poor mans ice skates’ in a way that will make anyone smile. The next song, 'Cutdown', follows a similar formula. Kim drums away, there are some handclaps, they shout ‘YEAH!’ in unison as Matt sings ‘Let's cut down the day/ in this green rusty van/ like a red Cadillac/ top down, shoulders tan.’ And immediately you’re transported to a John Hughes movie, good-looking teenagers laughing in a convertible, the whole scene scented like bubblegum. Other standout tracks include 'Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare', which begins with a light piano refrain and immediately digresses into a heavy base beat and handclaps. It sounds like Kanye at a children’s piano recital which has been crashed by enthusiastic hipsters. 'Spare Change' is backed up by the intricate clap/ stomp combinations which one might hear at a rowdy double-dutch tournament. It’s impossible to resist joining in, even if you’re listening on an iPod in public. If you see a kid on the tube with an ear-to-ear grin stomping, he might be listening to 'Grand'. There’s the requisite tracks of booms, bashes, and crashing riots, like 'I Wanna' and 'Cinders'. And there are slower, more heartfelt pleadings like 'Turn This Boat Around' and 'Lessons Learned'. My favourite track, though, must be 'I’ll Take Us Home'. When Matt sings ‘Here we stand with a wolf like shadow/ here we stand in the end’, it speaks to the kind of outrageous possibilities of youth. He seems to say that we are young, we are hungry, and our shadows are bigger than ourselves. We, like Matt and Kim, have the requsite energy and will, now we just need to grow into our shadows. Grand is an album for those who appreciate the simple things. If you like to drink regular Coke, fly kites, or lie back and find shapes in the clouds, this is an ideal record. If you require more challenging music than simply that which love, enthusiasm, and a keyboard can deliver, I would recommend you skip this one.