Mates of State

Re-Arrange Us

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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." It's a near perfect summer jam, almost too perfect as the rest of the album never quite recaptures the glorious feeling the song provides. Some come close though. "Help Help," with its '80s synths and fuzzed organ; "My Only Offer," with a majestic piano part and beautiful vocals from Kori Gardner; and the positively exuberant "Jigsaw" are the kind of songs indie rock bands would kill for. Gardner and Jason Hammel are becoming adept at creating big, shiny records with a real-life heart beating beneath. Indeed behind the pretty melodies and sing-along choruses are some tough sentiments with talk of losing fights and cold sweat on "You Are Free," long lost love on "Blue and Gold Print," and desperate battles on "The Re-Arranger." It's a fully realized album that will appeal to indie fans that like some sugar with their sadness, some sour with their sweetness. Most of all it will go down like honey for Mates of State fans who have been following the band's progression from an edgy lo-fi duo to the indie rock hit making machine they have so gracefully become.

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