Rhythm & Views 

Mates of State

Bring It Back starts out smooth, with Jason Hammel hitting the snare, and Kori Gardner gradually building up the organ on "Think Long." But by the "ahhh ahhhs" at the end of "Fraud in the '80s," neurons are firing triple-speed: This is top-shelf songwriting, the black market stuff, your dealer's secret stash. The really good shit.

The piano on "Like U Crazy" floats in on an elevated plateau, and Gardner and Hammel's competing voices blend together--you want to feel like you're flying? Like your limbs are detached from your body? Try the military beat that builds to the chorus of "Beautiful Dreamer," or the dance beat on "For the Actor." If the piano on "Nature and the Wreck" doesn't seriously fuck you up, then you haven't had enough--take more of the call-and-response rock of "So Many Ways": When Gardner and Hammel sing "oh-oh" just before they cry, "What have you given me? Nothing and everything!" you'll want to turn your head inside out, just to be able to hear it better.

Obey the hypnotic voices on "Punchlines" ("Can't you hear me in the aftermath, get into the car and you point it at the west"), and you'll hit the peak--and instead of crashing, "Running Out" gently brings you back down. The organ sounds like an orchestra; Gardner emits a high "oooh oooh oooh"; the whole song melts into percussion and flourish, and it's over--hell yes.

Good thing Bring It Back is only 10 songs long--any longer, and a hangover would be inevitable.

More by Annie Holub


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