May 4, 2006

Mates of State / Bring It Back

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Kori Gardner and Jason Hammell, aka husband/wife duo Mates of State, offer yet another first-rate offering of finely crafted pop. Released on Bartuk Records (home to other earnest pop acts like Rilo Kiley), their latest release Bring It Back continues to hone their synth-friendly melodic pop.

Mates of State achieve a lush, exuberant sound with little more than organs and drums (yep, that means no guitars), bolstered by goosebumps-inducing vocal harmonies (“Beautiful Dreamer”) and an uncanny knack for texture (minor chord changes in “Think Long” are luxuriously liquid). Mates of State elegantly shift from the fuzzy organs of their propulsive dance pop (“For The Actor,” “Fraud in the ’80s”) to the clear, arpeggiated piano of their melancholic confessionals (“Like U Crazy,” “Nature and the Wreck”).

Although their sunny, charming pop wears a bit thin by the end, Bring It Back nevertheless captures the playful energy of their highly touted live shows.

Archived article by Natasha Pickowicz