Since the duo's 2006 self-titled debut, they've released indie pop-rock records packed with Kim Schifino's sloppy punk-rock drumming and bouncing, somersaulting keys. Then there's Matt Johnson's nasally and punchy vocals, loving the crap out of life, particularly the life of a broke 20-something in Brooklyn. What set 2009's Grand and 2010's Sidewalks apart were the electronic attention to trends, and that bit of growth is still going on Lightning.
Some tracks off Lightning, like “I Said,” are darker and more insistent. There's also “Now,” which is a club banger for indie kids with a hard-driving beat that breaks down with a stuttering vocal track in a slow but muscular “get your hands up” moment.
But Lightning is still very much rooted in pop and punk rock. Most, if not all, of the songs would be at home on the previous records -- “Much Too Late” with its schizty guitar riff, and “Let's Go” with it's opening chorus of ooohs over major chords on the keys. Matt & Kim's penchant for gleeful rally-cry lyrics is still going strong, too, and it's on full display on “Tonight.
” It opens with, “Together we will tear this place apart / I'll cut the finish line when the race starts / How ‘bout we go somewhere we don't belong / We'll make a scene and play it out all wrong,” and dispenses quotable one liners like “let's go get dirty because your dress is too white.”
It also sounds like they've pulled back a little on the production. The instrumentation on the chorus of “Overexposed” is on one go-around, just handclaps and shrill synths, and another is just fast and fuzzy keys. The same can be heard on “It's Alright.” It's chorus is just kick drum, tambourine and vocals.
Lightning is the same Matt & Kim, finely tweaked, and it'll leave you too happy to whine about growth.