Release Date: Jun 16, 2015
Record label: Barsuk
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
After a long break spent doing things other than making records, like living life and touring with the Postal Service, the always reliable duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel return with a five-song EP that boils their energetically-pop-with-synths-and-booming-drums sound down into its purest form. You're Going to Make It is spilt between aching ballads that sound lifted from the back half of an ABBA album ("Sides of Boxes," "Gonna Get It"), typically pumped-up pop with big choruses ("I Want to Run"), and songs that really should be radio hits (the super-hooky "Staring Contest"). Add in a dramatic ballad ("Beautiful Kids") that features some solid vocals from Hammel contrasting well with Gardner's wonderfully soaring voice and these five songs end up being some of their best work.
Mates of State have gone short and sweet-as-a-sugarcube with their latest and first release since 2011. You’re Going To Make It does what it says on the jar (/CD case) and delivers little spoonfuls of positivity in easily gulpable bursts. Playing up to what the duo see as a recent trend away from audio-consumption of full ‘long play’ albums, the thinking behind this five-song offering is a serving of hits and hits alone in digestible brevity, with all of that pesky album-length padding stripped away.
When you've been a band for 15 years, there comes a time to look at your output and decide if it's worth it to keep going. Mates of State's new EP, You're Going to Make It, is the reassurance that comes just before that final quarter of a race. After several seconds of fluffy keys opening "Staring Contest," Kori Gardner interrupts: "Hey, I like it like this." Then the song breaks, bass splashing through its center, to offer up their sugary pop for younger millennials, a style that graces the rest of the EP.
It’s been four years since Mates of State released their sixth and most recent album, Mountaintops, but it feels like it’s been a lot longer. During that span of time, the scattered scene they once represented has only receded even further into the past, leaving them unmoored—out of time at best, irrelevant at worst. A decade ago Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner were one of so many co-ed power-pop duos competing for that cold "O.C." cash: Georgie James out of D.C., the Rosebuds out of North Carolina, the Like Young from Chicago, Viva Voce from way out in Portland.