Mates of State – Mountaintops

January 01, 1970

(Barsuk)

 

www.barsuk.com

 

It’s hard to
believe that it’s been over decade since this fresh-faced duo – Kori Gardner on
keyboards/vocals and Jason Hammel on drums/vocals – arrived in the Bay Area
from Kansas and began playing shows all over the place (I had seen so many of
their gigs , mostly at San Francisco venue Bottom of the Hill, that keyboardist
Kori , who doesn’t know me, came up to me one night and said “I see you everywhere!“). A lot has happened since
then, the duo got married, moved back to the east coast (Connecticut) and had two children.  Oh and they recorded a new record, too. Mountaintops is their sixth full-length
and is as bouncy and bubbly as you’d expect.

 

If you think
they’ve slowed down, mellowed out or gone all adult on us, well, you’d be
wrong. Mountaintops has the same
combustible energy that their previous records have had – and it’s got it in
spades. The first track on here, “Palomino” is irresistible with its soaring
keyboards and “whoah oh ohs” through the song while second song “Maracas”, has
an off-kilter, bendable keyboard whoosh that is an eyebrow crinkler at first
but by the song’s end you can’t help but bob your head. The strength of the
moodier “Unless I’m Led” are Gardner’s gorgeous vocals and the handclap shake
of “Total Serendipity” will put a smile on even the grumpiest of ogres
(“Basement Money”, too).  Part of the
allure of their records is that Jason and Kori love what they do; you can just tell.

 

After 14 years
they show no signs of slowing down and you know what you don’t want them too
because they haven’t even come close to sucking. It’s a win win for all of us.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Palomino”, “Maracas”, “Total
Serendipity’, “Basement Money” TIM HINELY

 

 

 

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