Mates of State Bring It Back

Mates of State’s last release, the All Day EP, proved to be a pivotal one in their career. It was the moment when everything really came together and made their first truly memorable record. Prior to that, they have always been defined by two facts. Firstly, that they were a band consisting of a couple (married since 2001) and secondly, that their instruments of choice were organ and drums. And no matter how many good songs they might have written, the novelty label was never too far away. Bring It Back, the band’s fourth full-length, shows All Day was no fluke. If anything, it is a more satisfying record simply because it demonstrates the band’s new-found consistency. And while the whole organ/drum thing might have been a limitation at some point during their nine-year career, these days it is merely a springboard to creativity. There isn’t a single point on Bring It Back where anyone would long for some guitar. But the band’s strongest point is still the vocal interplay between Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Every song is dominated by the many layers of vocals that playfully intertwine and duel effortlessly, creating lush harmonies and complex, hypnotic chants that are Bring It Back’s real driving force. This is quite simply Mates of State’s best record to date, and it looks like finally they will be judged on the merits of their music rather than being defined by bullet points in a their biography. (Barsuk)