July 01, 2005

Mates of State "All Day"

The quaint and cute indiepop duo of Mates of State have certainly made a name for themselves over the past two years. They've grown a lot since the days of their cute Our Solo Project days and they still retain their sense of catchy pop fun, as witnessed by their latest record, the All Day EP. The four songs on All Day are surprisingly mature and well-written; they are, as usual, sugar-coated by both Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel's charmingly innocent singing voices. Opening song "Good (All In Your Hands)" is classic Mates of State; Gardner accompanies Hammel's singing with 'da-da-da's' and a quite catchy organ lick. The same is also true of "Along For the Ride," which finds the duo taking turns with the vocal duties; Hammel accentuates the song with some great Beach Boys-meet-The Shins style harmonizing. The final two songs are much mellower; "Drop and Anchor" tempers a beautiful piano melody with some painfully earnest singing from the duo. It's beautiful and touching in a way only hinted at on previous records. This form of balladry isn't that common for Mates of State, but this song proves they're capable of making non-hyperactive pop. The final cover is an interesting cover of David Bowie's "Starman," and it's a mellow affair that's quite faithful to the original as well.

Though All Day is a bit of a stopgap release, it's still quite an excellent stopgap release, one that highlights the band's current strengths and promises of more great pop songs. A nice treat for longtime fans and a great introduction for those who might not yet be the States' mates.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.matesofstate.com
Label Website: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com

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