In terms of messages of uplift, “I’m not dead yet” is sort of settling for what you can get. It’s radical looking-on-the-bright-side. It’s part of the refrain to “Like I Used To Be” by the indie-pop duo Matt and Kim, off their forthcoming release “Almost Everyday.”
Going after the low-hanging fruit in terms of self-esteem is part of the vibe of Matt and Kim’s music: it’s pragmatic feel-good music that isn’t obsessed with overachieving. “I’m glad I tried” is the partial refrain of another song off the new record. The band has talked a lot about the struggles they faced in 2017, both in terms of an on-stage injury that Kim suffered and in terms of global events and politics. One senses that not giving up is a form of victory in this context.
The Brooklyn twosome has a bunch of friends and guests on the new records, turning it into a collaborative affair, which isn’t exactly common in the world of indie rock. Insistent piano chords, synthy low-end, rudimentary beats, shout-along choruses and simple, clear messages are part of the appeal of Matt and Kim’s music.
Theirs is a funny, exuberant kind of optimism — “We always win the fight” goes one line from an earlier album — but it’s mixed with a sort of eye-dropper of lower expectations. Making do without much is a recurrent theme: “I been around the world with a hoodie on,” is another sentiment. “All I need is just a beat and a melody to hold onto,” sings Matt on “Stirred Up” from 2015’s “New Glow.”
One could argue for the merits of complexity and subtlety, but maybe it is just that simple sometimes, and having the good news distilled into a brief bit of pop pleasure is a service to anyone aiming to simply get by.
Matt and Kim perform at College Street Music Hall, 238 College St., New Haven, on Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $27. collegestreetmusichall.com.