Husband and wife duo Mates of State are a brilliant fusion of complementary aspects. Their vocals are at times yelped, at times smoothly purred. Sometimes the synthesizers are making otherworldly noises while the drums bash away, and sometimes a dreamy melody is complemented with a beat like a pulse. This isnâ€™t a couple wrapped up in love songs; instead theyâ€™re making delicious power pop.
â€œPalominoâ€ is a kickstart opener, filled with the duality that makes Mates of State so unique. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are not out to harmonize and be cute. Theyâ€™re more likely to make people jump up and down on the dance floor rather than slow dance, gazing wistfully into each otherâ€™s eyes. â€œMaracasâ€ has a delightfully retro sound, and â€œChangesâ€ is slow enough that you can easily pick up on the words and belt along in the privacy of your home (or in public, if thatâ€™s your thing).
Mountaintops shows that Mates of State are just as in-command of their own sound as ever, and by producing their own work, theyâ€™re able to develop brilliant hooks and nuanced, layered pop gems. Itâ€™s certainly worth the wait for new material since 2008â€™s Re-Arrange Us and hopefully marks the bandâ€™s climb into the spotlight.