Rhythm & Views

Mates of State

All Day is only four songs long--and one of those songs is a cover of David Bowie's "Starman"--but this EP is Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel at their very best. The organ, drums and vocals are in perfect balance, the melodies euphoric, the lyrics interesting. Mates of State create textured songs with just organs (and/or keyboards) and drums by using each instrument to its full potential. And the vocals--harmonized, belted, crisp--are extra-credit. In "Goods (All in Your Head)," the organ emits this bubbly twinkle like the floating silver leaf that made Mario invincible, and then Hammel switches to a different cymbal and plays a similar sound--all while Gardner and Hammel sing "It's all in your head" with all of their hearts.

Mates of State are not ones to over-saturate their songs with extra instruments that only end up creating a muddy buzz somewhere in the back of the mix. "Drop and Anchor" is the best-crafted song on the EP, and it is slower and quieter than most Mates of State songs. David Bowie's "Starman" lends itself well to the Mates of State pop aesthetic, which is distinct and unique, but each one of their songs manages to add a new dimension to that sound; this is one of those bands that keeps getting better and better.

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