Mates of State Re-arrange Us

After being dismissed in their early days as a novelty act, Mates of State have come a long way. A musical couple before it was cool (if it is still cool...), they relied on a mix of organ and drums that made for a unique sound, but it soon became apparent that there was a lot more to them than that initial novelty. Album number five doesn’t mess too much with what has been a very successful formula for the band. Instead, it manages to rein in their overly frenetic moments and generally smooth down the rougher edges, and adds more piano and strings to the mix. It is a subtle change, one that works out for them because their wonderful vocal interplay is still the dominant force in every song. It might be more of the same but there is absolutely no need for a radical reinvention. The way that Kori Gardner and Jason Hemmel write songs where their voices never clash and complement each other whenever possible is what makes Re-Arrange Us another triumph for them. Even though it has been said before, this could very well be their breakthrough album and if it isn’t, it really is just a matter of time. (Barsuk)