Release Date: May 20, 2008
Record label: Barsuk
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Giving a record a title like Re-Arrange Us might imply some kind of shift in sound or approach but on Mates of State album of that title, there is nothing of the sort taking place. In fact, the album continues along the path the band has plotted out over their last couple releases with more piano and less organ, a glossy, slick feel that's radio ready and super-hooky tunes that are both sing-along friendly and emotionally powerful. "Get Better" sets the tone of the album right away with a sunshine-y melody, smooth production and sentiments like, "Forget all your politics for awhile/Let the color schemes arrive.
You've got to have respect for a husband-and-wife team that tours the world with a preschooler and an infant in tow. Most co-parenting couples can't even manage a trip to the grocery store without experiencing a total meltdown. And yet, here's a couple that turns in a strong fifth LP. Kori Gardner (keys, vox) and Jason Hammel (drums, vox) keep their cheery, indie rock, boy-girl harmonies intact while simultaneously exorcising any relationship-related demons that may lurk in their Connecticut home.
Streamlining was the best thing Mates of State ever did. Three albums into a career of amiably frenetic bubbly-pop, usually charmed and occasionally spoiled by the dwelt-on detail that the band’s only two members were also husband and wife, they realized that songs – not any songs, but their songs – sounded a lot better with an attention span. In 2006, shortly after the birth of their first daughter, Kori Gardner (electric organ and the like) and Jason Hammel (drums) released Bring It Back, for which they concentrated on thoughtfully developing a few ideas at a time rather than cramming seven or eight into each song.