4/5 stars

The Brooklyn-based indie-pop duo Matt and Kim are back with their fourth studio album, Lightning. With only ten tracks, the album is an easy listen filled with feel-good music with a punky twinge. There’s no lack of hand claps, synthesizers, group chanting and triumphant choruses. Matt’s signature vocal style and constant supply of attitude, accompanied by Kim’s aggressive drumming, are still fully present.

The album opens on a high note with the first single, “Let’s Go.” One of the best songs on the album, it is very reminiscent of their biggest hit so far, “Daylight.” Chock-full of hand claps and highly energized backing vocals, “Let’s Go” is one of the most cheerful tracks on the album. The second single, “Now,” supplies even more energy than the first, thanks to powerful drumming and a danceable melody. “Tonight” is a track that’s quite reminiscent of ’80s music and acts as quite a pick-me-up, since it is preceded by one of the slower tracks, “I Said.” “It’s Alright” is another highlight and one of the most dance-worthy songs they’ve recorded.

Overall, this effort is one of Matt and Kim’s best and shows more maturity than anything they’ve previously recorded — but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its low points. Simply put, “Not That Bad” is that bad. The group aims for subtlety but falls short, and then ends up being extremely boring. Sandwiched between two upbeat songs, it pulls the listeners straight out of the groove. The flow of the song is plain and underdeveloped. That’s not to say that all of the slower tracks on the album aren’t good; in fact, “I Said” is one of the band’s better slow tunes.

With Lightning, Matt and Kim have released their best album yet and have finally gotten their sound down completely. They manage to create pop music with a dance twist and a punk touch that doesn’t sound mismatched. The lyrics are well developed and interesting, especially thanks to Matt’s energetic and sassy vocals. Kim’s drumming has also improved, carrying each and every song musically. This duo has created one of the best albums of the year, and there’s really no way that a person could listen to this album without feeling compelled to dance.

LIGHTNING STRIKE Matt and Kim’s new album makes you want to get up and dance
LIGHTNING STRIKE Matt and Kim’s new album makes you want to get up and dance

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