» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Mates of State
Team Boo
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 8.75/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Hating this album is right on the tip of one's mind, but it isn't something easily accomplished. Mates of State occupy one of the true high grounds in music- the ability to capture and hold one's attention. Although I wouldn't bat an eye if I flipped on the television and caught Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner's carnivalesque love parade vibrating brightly in the background of some über-hip 20-something television show, they're not exactly accessible fare.

For the four lonesome hands of the married rock duo to create such a lush wave of sound is somewhat remarkable, but the richness is not a fluke. It is rather, an integral part of their sound. The warm, fuzzy melodies of Gardner's vintage organ spread like hot chocolate over the crisp, nimble, treble-rich percussion work of Hammel. Each one of the songs over the first half of this album is a certifiable single, from the exuberant pop of the opener, "Ha Ha" to the more brooding, artsy "Middle is Gold". The record does fade a bit across the midriff in terms of being a hit-machine, but it opens and closes strongly.

It seems grating at first listen, the Mates' chipper, chin-up and tail-bushy enthusiasm, but even the first time through you'll be attentive right up through one of the album's most potent sleeper tracks, "Sound It Off". Keen observations in narrations on life and living it such as "Tell me what you have/ that's when I'll know if you have anything to start with" help keep the listener snapped to attention during the cacophony of Team Boo, an attention that Mates of State aren't likely to relinquish any time soon.

This is just about the best album I could think of to keep the juices of summer flowing well into the crisp crackle of fall. Here's to love songs!

Reviewed by Lukas Shipman

See other reviews by Lukas Shipman



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