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Mates of State: Re-Arrange Us

By BEN WESTHOFF  |  June 3, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
Although their last CD experimented with song structure, for their fifth album, Mates of State sought out and found the perfect pop tune. Ten of them, actually. The title, I imagine, refers equally to the members’ family (husband-and-wife team Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner recently had another daughter and moved to New York), their group (they’re joined by players from Spoon and Death Cab), and the songs, which have been ecstatically conceived and contain nary a molecule of fat. “Now,” “My Only Offer,” and “The Re-Arranger” are so instantly pleasurable, it will take you a minute to realize that they’re about growing pains, marital compromise, and other heady, unglamorous domestic stuff. But as DC outfit Georgie James showed with their 2007 debut, Places, pretty ditties and relationship discord can be made to melt together. “Love loud, don’t lose loud,” Mates of State sing, offering parenthood and marriage as potent topics for rock stars.
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