Monday, December 19, 2011

Mates of State Head To The Moutaintops

Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are officially the cutest couple in all of indie rock. Their brash organ and drum lead tunes became the stuff of legend back at the turn of the century and the way that they look at each other will make your heart melt to this day. Since their first album the band has grown and flourished into something like a shiny and polished indie pop diamond in the rough. Their latest album, Mountaintops, shows the band further developing their sound and becoming even more polished and professional.

Mountaintops is an album that's so far removed from the first two Mates of State albums it's hard to find remnants of what they used to sound like. The roughness, rawness, and screamed vocals have been replaced with multipart melodies, all kinds of instrumentation, and total pop friendly fare. This really should come as no surprise because the transformation to well oiled pop juggernaut has been a gradual over the last three albums. While their first two albums, My Solo Project and Our Constant Concern are by far their best because of their rawness and urgency Mountaintops sees the band settled down, mature and turning into a highly professional and highly produced pop monster.

Using strings, piano, drums and their super duper harmonized sort of screamy singing, MOS haven't forgotten how to write dazzling songs. In fact, the first three songs on Mountaintops ("Palomino," "Maracas," and "Sway,") are so amazing they’ll give you Goosebumps. They are supremo indie rock pop beasts that have choruses and riffs that will live on forever. After those three bursts of energy, the band kind of varies the pace with "At Least I Have You," being a massive highlight toward the close of the album.

While Mountaintops isn't like their early stuff it's still ridiculously fun bit in a more aged and content way. It's as if they've traded in some of their urgency for complacency and I guess that's bound to happen when you're married and have kids. Mountaintops is the sound of Mates of State ageing in a graceful way but still hanging on to enough of their past to make things interesting. I for one am very happy for this and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for these guys!

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