A horrible hack

Mates of State

My Solo Project

Year Released: 2000
Format: CD
Label: Omnibus
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
I think this is the surprise record of the year for me. The surprise isn't the band, the surprise is that I like it as much as I do. And that I have it on CD instead of vinyl. Actually, that's probably the biggest surprise.

Mates of State are the purveyors of some devilishly catchy indie pop across just over 30 dead on wonderful minutes album. Equally at home on the faster, bouncier likes of "Proofs" as they are on the more downbeat, Ida-esque "I Have Space". Stylewise, MOS are simply one boy on drums, one girl on keyboards, and they sing harmonies to die for, bringing to mind when the two in Rainer Maria sing at the same time. Jason's vocals are very similar to Kyle's in that wavery/wobbly way, which is what brings about that comparison. So maybe they are a little limited in scope by using just two instruments, but they certainly attempt to prove otherwise here, squeezing a variety of sounds out of the keyboards / synths to mix things up to quite an impressive degree. "Nice Things That Look Good" feels like you're floating tranquilly in a bubble in space. Then there is the slightly off-key "A Control Group" squirts a long at the most energetic they get on here, but has a killer slower chorus. Tasty.

Lyrically they seem a bit Promise Ring influenced. Often puzzling, often repeating. Sometimes using that patented Davey trick of using a word that sounds the same and has completely different meanings, e.g. "You come in two's, you're coming to". I'd hazard a guess actually to say that anyone who likes the Promise Ring would really like this album too, even though the two bands have little in common soundwise.

For the times when you are feeling at your least hardcore, throw on this record, lie back, find someone you like to hold hands with, regress to any age of innocence and smile a long with your Mates of State. Blissful.

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