Mates Of State Mountaintops on Colored LP
"Mates of State have made a new album called Mountaintops. You already love Jason and Kori’s unmistakable music, or perhaps you’ve managed to miss out or have simply misunderstood just how great, and yes influential, they and their sound and their songs are. You throw this record on the stereo and the first thing you notice is the energy and force of it. Go slightly deeper and you find the song-craft. You find that Kori is one of the best female singers in modern music (and Jason is also no slouch). You notice the effortless way their voices harmonize and volley back and forth, the movements within the song, the way they move from upbeat to pastoral so fluidly that you don’t perceive it happening.
Through the years, the textures have become more intricate, deeper. Song-wise, all of the big ideas come to the surface: hope, grief, regret, gratitude, fate, the inevitability of change, the redemption of change, not carrying around the garbage of the past. There is a melancholy to much of their music that is sometimes ignored, and that often marks some of their best moments. Switching between the melancholy and buoyantly hopeful is another specialty of theirs, one that they really nail on Mountaintops.
I know I have to be careful of what I write here, because it may be repeated to Jason and Kori a few hundred times, but I hear a lot of ABBA in their songs. Like ABBA, they write sophisticated boy-girl pop performed so flawlessly that you think it must be easy (but it’s not easy). I hear some of the early work of Giorgio Moroder, and I hear some of the more timeless 80s pop, like ‘This Is The Day’ by The The. I hear some classic Kirsty MacColl in ‘Sway’. I hear some of Nick Lowe’s effortless appropriation of classic pop forms. Sometimes I hear the Valley Girl soundtrack, one of my all-time favorites, in a song like ‘Basement Money.’ ‘Desire’ could have been a big hit for The Carpenters. They touch on so much of what has been great in the last 50 years of pop music, all viewed through the Mates of State filter. Most of all, they have actually built their own sound. They sound like themselves." - AC Newman
Mates Of State Mountaintops Track Listing:
4. Unless I'm Led
5. Total Serendipity
6. Basement Money
7. At Least I Have You