Nov 102010
Authors: Michael Elizabeth Sakas

My friends and I recently had a conversation about nauseatingly cute duo couples in the musical world. Seeing the Weepies kiss between songs or hearing Mates of States’ baby croon in the background on a live track — for me — adds to the meaning of the music they make.

This talk started when I had found out that Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino of the band Matt & Kim are a couple. Unlike the Weepies or Mates of State, Matt & Kim keep the love hidden under layers of pop on their new album “Sidewalks.”

While sitting on my couch conducting an extremely scientific and official review of “Sidewalks,” I started to feel foolish. These are moving songs, dancing songs and driving-down-the highway-songs.

Their tunes are so poppy and dancey that they are hard to listen to while sitting still.

The lyrics are there, but they don’t hold much more meaning than that. Matt’s voice becomes a part of the beat. What is being said doesn’t seem to resonate.

The album has a marching band feel, with the emphasis placed on Kim’s strong and simple drumbeats. The song “Cameras” sounds like Matt is singing over a high school parade. It’s catchy, but overdone.

I’ve heard their live shows are extremely awesome and sweaty, and it is apparent that this album is appealing to such an atmosphere. In “Good for Great,” they go so far as adding an obvious sing-along ending: “We sing along but the notes are wrong. We sing along through night and dawn,” which is repeated over, and over and over.

Staring off as a keyboard and drum duo, Matt & Kim have added some extra production to their third album, leading to muddled tracks and a strange new sound. I enjoyed their simper days. I think “Sidewalks” has lost its sense of direction.

Music reviewer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at

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